Northern Ireland’s Under-16s put in an excellent performance to ease past Estonia’s U16s in a friendly in Co Fermanagh.
International challenge match
Northern Ireland U16s 4 Estonia U16s 0
Northern Ireland: Thompson (16’), Feeney (49’, 70’), Leacock (81’)
Ferney Park, Ballinamallard
28 September 2023
This was the second of two friendlies for the U16s as part of a training camp held in Fermanagh this week. The players in the U16s squad are either students at the Irish FA JD Academy based at Ulster University Jordanstown or are involved in the Irish FA’s National Performance Programme. The team was coached by Kris Lindsay (Irish FA/UEFA Academy Manager) and Andy Waterworth (Irish FA Head of Elite Player Development). They made wholesale changes from the team that started the 3-2 win over Finland earlier in the week.
How it happened
Estonia started well and pressed aggressively, however Northern Ireland then began to assert themselves, enjoying plenty of possession.
Some excellent approach work down the right was complemented by individual class as Kalum Thompson executed a superb volley to score from the edge of the penalty area on 16 minutes.
Northern Ireland had the bulk of the possession during the first half and produced some fine combination play.
Half-time: Northern Ireland U16s 1 Estonia U16s 0
The second goal for Northern Ireland arrived just after the break when Callum Leacock lobbed a ball to substitute George Feeney and the striker rounded the keeper to score.
The home side pressed high throughout, which meant Estonia often found it difficult to get the ball moving.
The third goal from Northern Ireland came on 70 minutes when substitute Glenn McCourt intercepted a pass and quickly fed the ball to Feeney, who slotted it home for his second of the match.
Just over 10 minutes later Leacock rounded off a man of the match performance when he got on the end of a pinpoint corner-kick delivery from substitute Chris Atherton (pictured). Leacock steered the ball into the net with a neat half-volley to round off the scoring in an impressive display.
Full-time: Northern Ireland U16s 4 Estonia U16s 0
Northern Ireland U16s: Zak Robinson, Calum Anderson, Noah McDonnell (captain), Jayden Charnley, Callum Leacock, Jack Faloona, Scott Hamilton, Kalum Thompson, Matthew Burns, Christian Coyle, Harry Allen.
Substitutes: Lucas Fry (GK), Alex Watson, Darragh McCann, Harry Moran, Troy Savage, Glenn McCourt, George Feeney, Ceadach O’Neill, Chris Atherton.
Estonia U16s: Sander Ristna, Patrick Pihlak, Jakob Kais, Mihhail Dzemesjuk, Markus Kasemaa Jarl, Remo Valdmets (captain), Emil Dolgov, Mohamed Amin Ouertani, Martin-Chris Paalberg, Arnas Besigirskis, Trevor Hint.
Substitutes: Romet Lipson, Artjom Truuvaart, Sander Alamaa, Ekke Keskkula, Jasper Pold, Karl Magi, Jakob Oja, Kevin Marcus Laas, Romet Leppik, Johann Gregor Allas, Kaspar Korasteljov.