Release Date: 16/03/2009
SUNDAY March 8 proved to be an historic day for the Northern Ireland Cerebral Palsy Development Squad.
The team traveled to the Oscar Traynor Centre in Dublin in confident mood, bolstered with four new additional members.
Prior to the main game the younger members of both squads competed against each other as the curtain raiser to the main event with the Northern Ireland boys going down 4-3 despite 12-year-old William Hamilton scoring a quite magnificent hat-trick.
On to the main event and immediately the Northern Ireland boys took a firm grip on the proceedings which set the pattern for the whole game, with Northern Ireland’s Phil Quinn proving to be a colossus at the back and the rock on which this long awaited victory was built. Jordan Kearns captained the side for the first time and his forceful, driving runs from midfield proved to be the catalyst for what was about to follow.
Despite going close on several occasions it took until the 12th minute for our boys to open the scoring a fantastic team goal set up by Stephen Halpin with a Ronaldo-esque sublime piece of skill which totally bamboozled the Republic defence and enabled Kearns the easiest of chances to open the scoring. Kearns made it 2-0 shortly afterwards with a thundering shot from all of 20 yards leaving the Republic keeper motionless as the ball sped past him into the back of the net.
Half–time: Republic of Ireland 0-2 Northern Ireland
The second half proved to be identical to the first, with lots of pressure from the Northern Ireland boys and some resolute defending from the home side. It took a fantastic free-kick from Mark Jones to make it 3-0, with the Republic getting their only consolation goal a minute later. Further goals from debutants James Doherty and Niall Ferrin put the icing on the cake and our boys could celebrate a first away win in Dublin.
This was an outstanding team performance and a huge confidence booster for the squad as they prepare for the Home Nations Cerebral Palsy Tournament in England this July.
Coach, Alan Crooks was delighted with the squad and the performance, signaling out the original members of the squad for their attitude and commitment to the team.
Result: Republic of Ireland 1 – 5 Northern Ireland
Man of the Match: Phil Quinn (Northern Ireland)
Northern Ireland scorers: Kearns 2, Jones, Doherty, Ferrin
Northern Ireland Team: Marc Smith, Darren Lemon, Phil Quinn, Mark Jones, Jordan Kearns (Captain), Stephen Halpin, James Doherty, Jared Kennedy, Thomas McCormack, Niall Ferrin, William Hamilton.
Special thanks to ‘Our Wee Country Website’ and ‘Black Dog Loyal Northern Ireland Supporters Club’ for their continued sponsorship.
For further information on Cerebral Palsy football email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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