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Friday 26 Aug 2022
U16s lose out to Poland

Northern Ireland’s Under-16s suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat in the second of two friendlies against Poland U16s this week.

Game one was a pretty even contest - it finished 1-1 - and game two was a tight affair as well in Lubliniec in southern Poland.

The only goal of the game at the at the Miejski Stadium came in the fifth minute when Adrian Przyborek timed his run to perfection and finished at the back post after he got on the end of Dawid Mazurek's teasing cross. 

Seven minutes later a ball a dangerous ball from the hosts resulted in Connor Haughey fouling Kamil Jakobczyk in the box and the ref pointed to the spot.  Up stepped Jakub Adkonis who went for power but his shot came crashing off the upright and away to safety.

That miss spurred Northern Ireland into action with Cole Brannigan and Oscar Kelly pull the strings.

With a quarter of an hour on gone the injured Fionn Duffy made way for 14-year-old Troy Savage and the young Castle Juniors midfielder, who is just 14, played with maturity making well-timed interventions and fed the ball forward at every opportunity. 

Northern Ireland were more than in the game at this stage and with a bit more luck they could have gone in level at half time only for Kelly's effort to go agonisingly off target.

Haughey, Stitt and Cowan were replaced with McDermott, Smyth and Callum Doherty at the break and the team went on to produce some fine flowing football but half chances from Brannigan and Beattie came and went.

Boss Kris Lindsay then made a further five changes with McCart, Graham, Corry, Harkin and Gracey all introduced.  

In gruelling heat Northern Ireland's continued to press but the equaliser eluded them.

Manager Kris Lindsay's reaction

"The game was another learning experience for the players. We started the game slowly in the first 15 minutes or so but showed good resilience to stay in the game and our performance levels improved as the game went on. 

"Overall, there were lots of positive performances. We were disciplined defensively and had some good passages of play creating a number of chances.  Across the two games all players have gained valuable minutes of international football, learning the demands required both on and off the pitch to compete at this level.  It was a positive week away with the squad and one to learn from and build on as we move towards the Victory Shield."

The two games in Poland were part of preparations for this year’s Victory Shield competition, which is due to be staged in Waterford from 30 October until 4 November. In that tournament the U16 Schoolboys, coached by Kris Lindsay, will be playing the Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Northern Ireland U16: 

Northern Ireland starting XI: Will Murdock (Manchester United), Conor McVeigh (Linfield), Connor Haughey (Glentoran), Calum Moreland (Linfield), Calum Cowan (Linfield), Fionn Duffy (Derry City), Dylan Stitt (Linfield), Jack Doherty (c) (Derry City), Kenzie Beattie (Linfield), Cole Brannigan (Linfield), Oscar Kelly (Rochdale).

Substitutes: (used) Troy Savage (Castle Juniors), Michael Harkin (Derry City), Sean Corry (Ballinamallard United), Braiden Graham (Linfield), Oilibhéar McCart (Cliftonville), Joshua Gracey (Glenavon) (GK), McDermott; (unused), Caoimhan Crossan (Derry City), Callum Doherty (Derry City).