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Friday 03 Nov 2023
U16s squad for Victory Shield campaign named

Northern Ireland’s Under-16s will be in Wales next week competing in this year’s Victory Shield competition.

The international tournament, featuring Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales as well as Northern Ireland, is due to be hosted by the Football Association of Wales from next Monday (6 November) until the following Saturday (11 November).

The games are being staged in north Wales (Cymru) and first up for Northern Ireland is a match against Cymru at Central Park, home of Denbigh Town Football Club, on Monday (6pm start).

Matchday two is next Wednesday when the U16s will take on Scotland (noon kick-off). The game was due to have been played at the Deeside Stadium in Connah’s Quay, however Storm Ciaran caused flooding at the ground and the match has now been switched to the Memorial Playing Fields, home of Ruthin Town FC, in Ruthin, Denbighshire, instead.

The final match in the series for Northern Ireland will be against Republic of Ireland in Ruthin on Saturday 11 November. That game is due to kick off at 11.02am after a two-minute silence is observed to mark Remembrance Day.

Northern Ireland’s Victory Shield team will be coached by Kris Lindsay (Irish FA/UEFA Academy Manager) and Andy Waterworth (Irish FA Head of Elite Player Development).

They have chosen a 22-strong panel to compete in the Under-16 Schoolboys international competition, which is run by the Schools’ Association Football International Board.

Eight Linfield players have been included in the squad. There are also five Glentoran players in the group, and there’s representation from Derry City (two players), Glenavon (two), Liverpool, Ipswich Town, Larne, Coleraine and Bohemians.

The Victory Shield was presented to SAFIB in 1947 to mark, as suggested by its title, victory by the Allies in World War II.

Northern Ireland have only won the shield twice – in 2000-01 and 2018-19 – since the current version was set up in the 1940s.

Northern Ireland U16s squad for Victory Shield 2023:

Goalkeepers – Zak Robinson (Breda Academy (Belfast)/Linfield), Milo Beimers (Belfast High School/Glentoran).

Defenders – Alex Watson (St Killian’s College (Carnlough)/Linfield), Darragh McCann (Our Lady and St Patrick’s College (Belfast)/Glentoran), Noah McDonnell (Colaiste Feirste (Belfast)/Larne), Jayden Charnley (Ballyclare Secondary/Glentoran), Harry Moran (Ormskirk School (Lancashire)/Liverpool), Callum Leacock (St Pius X College (Magherafelt)/Linfield), Calum Anderson (Grosvenor Grammar (Belfast)/Linfield), Aron KC (Foyle College/Derry City).

Midfielders – Troy Savage (Bangor Academy/Glenavon), Jack Faloona (Our Lady and St Patrick’s/Glentoran), Glenn McCourt (St Joseph’s College (Derry-Londonderry)/Derry City), Matthew Burns (Belfast High/Coleraine), Christian Coyle (Swords Community College (Co Dublin)/Bohemians).

Forwards – Chris Atherton (St Patrick’s Academy (Dungannon)/Glenavon), Kalum Thompson (Belfast High/Linfield), Ceadach O’Neill (St Mary’s CBS (Belfast)/Linfield), George Feeney (Ashfield Boys’ High (Belfast)/Glentoran), Scott Hamilton (Down High School (Downpatrick)/Linfield), Harry Allen (Carrickfergus Academy/Linfield), Sidney Eldred (Becket Keys School (Essex)/Ipswich Town).

Image: The U16s warmed up for the Victory Shield with international challenge matches against Finland and Estonia back in September. They defeated the Finns 3-2 and Estonia by four goals to nil. Both games were played at Ferney Park in Fermanagh. Here Glenn McCourt takes on the Finnish defence.