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Saturday 18 Nov 2023
U19s lose out to Czechia in Larne

Northern Ireland’s men’s Under-19 team lost 2-0 against Czechia in a UEFA prep tournament in Larne tonight. An early goal and another in added time were enough to secure the win for the Czechs against a spirited Northern Ireland side.

Competition

UEFA Preparatory U19 Friendly Tournament

Scoreline

Northern Ireland U19s 0 Czechia U19s 2

Scorers

Czechia: Hranos (3’), Buryan (90+3’)

Venue

Inver Park, Larne

Date

18 November 2023

Team News

This was Northern Ireland’s second game in a four-team preparation tournament ahead of the UEFA Men’s Under-19 European Championship 2024, which is being hosted by the Irish Football Association.

U19s boss Gareth McAuley made eight changes to the starting XI from their first game, against Hungary, which Northern Ireland lost 2-1.

In came Mason Munn (GK), Joel Thompson, Tom Atcheson, Devlan Moses, Corey Smith, Sean Brown, Jack Doherty and Blaine McClure.

Dropping to the bench were Pierce Charles (GK), Brendan Hamilton, Phoenix Scholtz, Lewis Trickett, Ryan Donnelly, Sam Glenfield, George Goodman and Reece Evans.

Only defenders Gallagher Lennon and Josh Briggs plus attacker Kieran Morrison retained their places.

How it happened

The game got off to the worst possible start for Northern Ireland. In the third minute a long ball from defender Matej Zitny was not dealt with and it fell to left winger Vojtech Hranos who ran towards goal and tucked the ball home from a narrow angle.

On 14 minutes Northern Ireland keeper Mason Munn saved well from a Hranos drive and on 25 minutes he did well to keep out a looping Zitny header before Hranos scooped an effort over the top and David Krupicka’s long range shot drifted over the bar.

Despite some good approach play, Northern Ireland found it hard to break down a resolute Czech defence. Any efforts they had were usually blocked by the efficient Czech back line.

On 33 minutes Sean Brown had an effort, but he did not manage to test Czech keeper Adam Rezek, while Kieran Morrison had a stinging shot blocked as half-time approached.

Half-time: Northern Ireland U19s 0 Czechia U19s 1

Just after the break Corey Smith had an opportunity snuffed out before the lively Morrison shot straight at Rezek.

Substitute Reece Evans battled well for the ball and fed it to Smith, however he also shot straight at the keeper from 10 yards.

Down the other end Hranos scooped the ball over the top with the goal gaping. The Czechs launched some rapid attacks, but the hard working Northern Ireland defence held firm.

Morrison was in the thick of it again on 80 minutes when Rezek tipped his rising shot over the bar. Joel Thompson guided a header over the top as Northern Ireland pushed for an equaliser. Next to have a go was Evans, who blasted the ball straight at the keeper from close range, and the striker also had another decent effort.

Czechia scored their second in added time when substitute Jan Buryan raced clear of the Northern Ireland defence and planted the ball past Munn.

As in their first game, Northern Ireland played much better in the second half, but could not find the back of the net.

Next up for Northern Ireland is their final game in the UEFA prep tournament. It’s against Portugal on Tuesday (21 November, 7pm start). Once again it is being played at Inver Park, with free entry. Hungary and Czechia will face each other on the same day at Seaview in Belfast, again at 7pm.

Full-time: Northern Ireland U19s 0 Czechia U19s 2

Line-ups

Northern Ireland: Mason Munn, Joel Thompson, Sean Brown, Gallagher Lennon (captain), Josh Briggs, Tom Atcheson, Jack Doherty, Blaine McClure, Devlan Moses, Corey Smith, Kieran Morrison.

Substitutes: (used) Reece Evans, Brendan Hamilton, Rio Oudnie-Morgan; (unused) Pierce Charles, Phoenix Scholtz, Lewis Trickett, Ryan Donnelly, Sam Glenfield, Francis Turley, George Goodman, Rio Oudnie-Morgan.

Czechia: Adam Rezek, David Krupicka, Matej Zachoval, Ferdinand Riha, Matej Zitny, Daniel Rus, Jaroslav Vanek, Pavel Gaszczyk (captain), Ondrej Deml, Arsen Vitarigov, Vojtech Hranos.

Substitutes: Matej Cechal (GK), Adam Pudil, Zdenek Toman, Jan Buryan, Eric Hunal, Michal Malek, Jiri Hamza, Milos Pudil, Stepan Misek, David Planka, Filip Sanci.