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Thursday 17 Aug 2023
U15s set to face Poland twice

A Northern Ireland Under-15 development team are set to take on their Polish counterparts twice next week.

Coleraine’s Showgrounds will host both matches against Poland’s U15s. The first of the friendly games is on Tuesday (22 August), with game two next Thursday (24 August). Both encounters will kick off at 7pm and entry is free.

The squad is made up of players who will be attending the Irish FA JD Academy over the next two years along with others from the Irish FA’s National Performance Programme and one player who is based in England.

Michael McClean will coach the team, assisted by Michael O’Connor and Rory Hale. A 20-strong squad has been chosen for the double header.

McClean said: “The U15 squad has recently played games against club sides as well as competing in the Den Bosch International Tournament, however these upcoming games against Poland will be the squad’s first experience of international football.

“Polish teams at underage international level are always very physical, well organised and technically very good, so we are expecting a really tough test for our players, especially given these will be their first international games.

“However, for our young players’ development, it is important they are exposed to such high level matches and get experience of playing against different styles and cultures.”

The Northern Ireland U15 development squad features:

Goalkeepers – Matthew Hayman (Dungannon Swifts), Cole Smyth (Derry City).

Defenders – Calum Anderson and Jake Hirthe (both Linfield), Charlie Campbell and Matthew McCann (Glentoran), Paul Stanfield (Cliftonville), Jack Johnston (Dungannon Swifts), Harry Moore (Greenisland).

Midfielders – Caleb Sweeney and Ross Campbell (Greenisland), Freddie Murdock (unattached), Emmet Morrison (Derry City), Max Strong (Ballymena United), Ryan Lagan (Rosario).

Forwards – Coran Madden and Eamonn Tohill (both Cliftonville), Luke Hawe (Ballymena United), Joel Kerr (Glentoran), Stephen Kelly (Linfield).

Image: Several members of the U15 development squad competed at the Den Bosch International Tournament in the Netherlands back in May. Northern Ireland won the main overall U15/U14 trophy after defeating Belgian side Club Brugge in the final.