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Release Date: 12/06/2011

THE Northern Ireland Junior International squad lost 2-0 to their Republic of Ireland counterparts in an end of season friendly at Dublin's AUL Complex on Saturday.

It was the Republic who started the game stronger and went close to taking the lead in the 10th minute with David Lacey’s overhead kick effort just passing the post.

Northern Ireland started to find their feet after about 15 minutes of play, however they were caught badly with a 23rd minute set piece. A free kick on the edge of the penalty area was swung into the box with Lacey glancing a header towards goal only for Daniel McMurray to convert into his own net.

It took a few fine saves from Graeme McKibbin in the rest of the 1st half to keep Northern Ireland in the game.

In the 37th minute a ROI striker was through on goal, but McKibbin managed to get a foot to his shot, clearing the danger.   

McKibbin then made another great save 3 minutes later as again the visiting defence was left stranded, only for McKIbbin to save their blushes by parrying the striker’s effort.

Harry McConkey made several changes at half time as Northern Ireland stepped up their performance in the early stages of the 1st half. Energetic winger Steven Garrett didn’t make it easy for the home side, with his bursts from midfield into the final third. However, Harry’s lads lacked the quality in the attacking part of the pitch.

The ROI increased their lead in the 58th minute as again the NI defence was caught out trying to play the offside trap, with Adam Foley running through and cooly converting his effort passed Patrick Flood.

The second goal did seem knock the stuffing out of the NI side. The ROI controlled the rest of the game comfortably and could have scored a third only for William Armstrong to clear another effort off the line.

Reflecting on the game, Harry McConkey commented: "Unfortunately this was not an ideal time of the season for the players to perform at their best, taking the game during the off season. However, we wanted to help our friends out in the South before they head to Portugal for the Regions’ Cup finals.

"In the first half I thought it was closely fought contest and we were most unfortunate with the own goal. Our back four played well throughout the game and were very confident with the presence of Brian Hylands. Graeme McKibbin also saved us on a few occasions.

"I felt overall that the Republic won the midfield battle and we were disappointing in the final third. However, I cannot fault the players for their efforts”.

Northern Ireland: Graeme McKibbin (Glentoran II), Daniel McMurray (HW Welders), Jeff Brady (Banbridge Town), Brian Hylands (Bangor), Ryan Murray (Bangor), Damian McParland (Banbridge Town), Ryan Moffatt (Rathfriland Rangers), Aaron Harris (Crusaders Reserves), Ryan Harvey (HW Welders), Barry Bloomer (Loughgall), Steven Garrett (Knockbreda) subs Patrick Flood (Ballyclare Comrades; replaced McKibbin 46), Mark McClelland (Ballyclare Comrades; replaced Bloomer 46), Trevor Parkhill (Glebe Rangers; replaced Harvey 46), William Armstrong (HW Welders; replaced Moffatt 59), Scott Irvine (Ballyclare Comrades; replaced Harris 59)

On another sad note for Northern Ireland, captain Brian Hylands played his final international game after eight years of service both in UEFA Regions Cup and Junior Quadrangular Trophy tournaments.

He completed his International career with 25 matches under his belt.

Harry McConkey remarked “I feel it an absolute privilege to have been able to work with Brian over the years. His attitude and commitment has always been first class. He has represented Northern Ireland very well with always a 100% effort. Fantastic career, exceptional leadership qualities, and I have no doubt he will also take up the management role at some stage.”


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  • Junior International v. Republic of Ireland, 11th June 2011

    Brian Hylands called time on his international career after eight years

    Picture: Gary Hancock

  • Junior International v. Republic of Ireland, 11th June 2011

    Mark McClelland works his way through the Republic of Ireland defence

    Picture: Gary Hancock

  • Junior International v. Republic of Ireland, 11th June 2011

    Jeff Brady clears his lines

    Picture: Gary Hancock

  • Junior International v. Republic of Ireland, 11th June 2011

    The Northern Ireland Junior international squad

    Picture: Gary Hancock

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