Northern Ireland will be taking part in one of the most prestigious girls’ football competitions in Europe next week.
The annual Bob Docherty Tournament for Under-15 girls’ development sides will this year feature teams from England, Scotland and Republic of Ireland as well as Northern Ireland.
The competition, run by the Schools Association Football International Board (SAFIB), is for schoolgirls’ teams, although the respective squads usually feature several players involved in national development set-ups. This year’s tournament is being staged in the Glasgow area.
The Northern Ireland team is set to be managed by Stephen Graham, who will be assisted by Heather Mearns.
Earlier this month Graham was in charge of Northern Ireland’s Women’s Under-16s at a UEFA development tournament in Bulgaria where they won two of their three games.
His 18-strong panel for the Bob Docherty Tournament features six players who were on that trip to eastern Europe: Jessica McGuinness, Niamh Hassan, Lillie Horner, Anna Walsh, Caitlin Carlisle and Abbie Smith.
Northern Ireland’s first game in the Bob Docherty is on Sunday (2 April) against England. The venue is Parklea Playing Fields (4pm kick-off).
Matchday two is next Tuesday (4 April) when Scotland will be the opposition at the home of Renfrew Juniors FC in Renfrew (1pm start).
Then it’s back to Parklea for the Northern Ireland girls next Thursday to face the Republic (1.30pm kick-off).
Northern Ireland last won the trophy in 2012, while the Republic are the current holders of the Bob Docherty Cup.
The Northern Ireland Women’s U15 development squad features:
Goalkeepers – Abbie Smith (Victoria College, Belfast), Isla Mitchell (Bangor Academy).
Defenders – Caitie McGurnaghan (Rathmore Grammar, Dunmurry), Lillie Horner (Belfast Girls’ Model), Chloe Beckinsale (Belfast High School), Caitlin Carlisle (Carrickfergus Grammar School), Ellie McLarnon (Glenlola Collegiate, Bangor),
Midfielders – Sophie Pollock (Lurgan College), Jessica McGuinness (Edmund Rice College, Glengormley), Niamh Hassan (St Mary’s High School, Limavady), Sophie Hutchinson (Ballymoney High), Natnicha Mills (Mount Lourdes, Enniskillen), Charlotte Haveron (St Paul’s High, Bessbrook).
Forwards – Mia Snoddy (Larne Grammar School), Anna Walsh (Dominican College, Belfast), Kayli-Ann Clayton (Tandragee Junior High), Lucy Kelly (Mercy College, Belfast), Maja Stachura (Edmund Rice College).