Sign up to the Irish FA Newsletter today

Keep up-to-date with all the latest news from the Irish FA including ticket updates, match information, competitions, articles and much more.
Thank you

Monday 01 Apr 2024
Jackie Burns returns to action with Reading over Easter weekend

After being sidelined for nearly a year with an achilles injury, Northern Ireland goalkeeper Jackie Burns returned to first team action with Reading over the Easter weekend in their 4-1 defeat at home to Blackburn Rovers.

Burns, who won the last of her 45 caps in the 1-0 friendly win over Italy in November 2022, admitted she was delighted to return to the international fold for the upcoming qualifying games against Malta and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“It’s great to be back in with the team after so long,” she told “Thanks to Tanya (Oxtoby) for giving me the opportunity.

“I’ve heard so much from the girls and I’m really excited to get involved in it all and especially to see all the fans again.”

Elsewhere, midfielder Megan Bell chalked up an assist for Hearts after coming on as a substitute in the 3-0 SWPL victory at Patrick Thistle, while the newest member of Oxtoby’s panel, Connie Scofield, played the final 12 minutes of London City Lionesses' 2-1 defeat at Sheffield United.  

In the Premier League, Conor Bradley followed up his winning goal against Scotland in midweek with another impressive performance for Liverpool who came from behind to beat Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 at Anfield to return to the top of the table with just nine matches remaining.

“It was a very tough game,” declared the 20-year-old. “I thought our reaction after the goal was brilliant. We created so many chances. On another day we could have scored more. I’m buzzing with the win.”

In the Championship Jordan Thompson, Jamal Lewis, George Saville, Daniel Ballard and the much-sought-after Trai Hume all played the full 90 minutes for their respective clubs, although Paddy McNair was absent from the Middlesbrough team that drew 1-1 at Southampton due a knee injury he picked up on international duty.

Also missing from that game at the St Mary’s stadium was 20-year-old Shea Charles who was left out of the Saints match day squad by manager Russell Martin.

“Shea took things brilliantly because he is a fantastic young man and a really good pro,” said Martin. “Unfortunately, a part of my job is making those decisions. 

“I had to leave out a guy who has been away and played two really good games for his country. Shea won’t like it but hopefully he respects it.”

After recovering from ankle and knee injuries, striker Conor Washington started his first game for Derby County since 5 November as they kept their automatic promotion hopes from League One on track with a narrow 1-0 win at home to Blackpool.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, Liam Donnelly, Matty Kennedy and Kyle Vassell all started Kilmarnock’s 1-1 draw at Hearts and Aaron Donnelly was part of the Dundee team that moved into the top six of the Scottish Premiership following a 2-1 success at St Johnstone. 

On the goalscoring front, former under-21 international Chris Conn-Clarke scored a brace for Altrincham in their 3-1 away win at Kidderminster Harriers to take his total for the season to 21.

Finally, in the U18 Premier League, substitute Ryan Donnelly scored the winner for Leicester City in a 2-1 victory at Reading and former Glentoran winger Rhys Walsh scored his first goal since his move to Sunderland in a 2-0 win at Middlesbrough.