A Northern Ireland Women’s Under-16 development team are currently taking part in a four-team UEFA development tournament in Slovenia.
The WU16s played their first game of the tournament earlier today, losing out on penalties to the host nation. They will also play Sweden and Wales over the next few days.
Northern Ireland produced a sparkling display against Slovenia in Cerkvenjak and were unlucky to come away from the match empty-handed following the penalty shootout defeat
In the opening stages Caoimhe Gelston Mullholland saw a neat lob drop just the wrong side of the Slovenian crossbar.
Then both teams squandered opportunities before Northern Ireland had the best chance of the first half. It fell to Ellie-Mae Dickson on 21 minutes. She blasted the ball over the bar from close range after great play on the wing between Rose Zubier and Cora Chambers
A raft of substitutions followed at half-time and it meant the play was disjointed at the start of the second period.
But both teams settled down relatively quickly and again had chances with Slovenia captain Manca Suhoversnik unlucky to see a cross-cum-shot bounce off the crossbar and away to safety.
Then, in the 66th minute, Dickson had two efforts in quick succession blocked on the Slovenia goal-line.
With no score within the 80 minutes of normal play the match was decided on penalties. Abbie McHenry produced the only successful spot kick for Northern Ireland as they lost the shootout 2-1.
It was an excellent all-round performance from the WU16s, however they face a sterner test tomorrow when they come up against tournament favourites Sweden in Cerkvenjak (1600 start).
The final game for Noel Mitchell’s side in the tournament is on Monday against Wales (11.00 kick-off) in Gornja Radgona.
Northern Ireland WU16s development squad: Lauren Welsh (Cliftonville Ladies), Grace Glancy (Manchester City Ladies), Leah McAuley (Lisburn Rangers), Fionnuala Morgan (Cliftonville Ladies), Erin McGreevy (Lisburn Rangers), Cara Mervyn (Glentoran Women), Rose Zubier (Cliftonville Ladies), Caoimhe Gelston Mulholland (Ballynahinch Ladies), Abbie McHenry (Cliftonville Ladies), Brianna Martin (Peamount United, Dublin), Cora Chambers (Sion Swifts), Leah Heaney (Glentoran Women), Darcy Boyle (Crusaders Strikers), Ellie-Mae Dickson (Lisburn Rangers), Kathryn McConnell (Linfield Ladies), Lucy Kirgan (Crusaders Strikers), Zoe Rodgers (Lisburn Rangers), Kathryn Dickson (Linfield Ladies), Aimee Neal (Lisburn Rangers), Cora Morgan (Linfield Ladies).