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Thursday 18 Apr 2024
U15s narrowly defeated by France

Northern Ireland’s Under-15 development team performed well against France U15s in the first of two friendlies being played in France this week. They narrowly lost by two goals to nil.


International Challenge Match


France U15 2-0 Northern Ireland U15


France: Nassim Laarej (49’), Yanis Addich (50’)




17 April 2024

Team News

Head coach Kris Lindsay has a 20-strong panel at his disposal for two friendlies against France U15s at Clairefontaine, the French Football Federation’s national training centre, this week.

Prior to the first game, he said: “We know our players will face two very tough games in France, however we want to expose them to the best teams in Europe.”

The Northern Ireland squad mainly features players from the Irish FA JD Academy.

How it happened

Northern Ireland started the game well with a good structure out of possession, frustrating France and forcing them into errors. And in possession they looked comfortable.

In the seventh minute Luke Hawe raced clear of the French defence, however a defender eventually forced him wide and his effort from the edge of the area brushed the far post.

For the rest of the half Northern Ireland contained France to a couple of half-chances which were comfortably dealt with by the back three and goalkeeper.

Northern Ireland enjoyed plenty of possession and got into some good areas, forcing France into some last ditch defending.

Half-time: France U15 0-0 Northern Ireland U15

The visitors started the second half brightly and created their best chance of the game on 48 minutes. The ball was fizzed across the box and Joel Kerr, on the stretch, diverted it inches over the bar.

Unfortunately France scored less than a minute later. The ball fell to Nassim Laarej just inside the area and he slotted it home.

Northern Ireland then conceded another goal within a minute when Yanis Addich scored after some pinball in the box.

To their credit Northern Ireland showed great character to stay in the game and regain a foothold in it. They had decent spells of possession and created a couple of half-chances while frustrating and containing France.

Afterwards Kris Lindsay said: “I was pleased with our young players’ attitude and application in this game. For the majority of the game we matched France, defending well with an excellent shape and in possession we were brave and tried to play.

“We created a couple of really good goalscoring opportunities and with a little bit more composure around the final third we could have created a couple more. International football is unforgiving and we have been punished with two goals in a minute.

“But we want to expose our young players to games like this as it will aid their development massively, experiencing the physical, tactical and technical levels the players have to get to in order to compete with the top nations.”

The second game against the French is due to be played at Clairefontaine tomorrow (19 April), with an 11am CET (10am BST) start.

Full-time: France U15 2-0 Northern Ireland U15


France: Arthur Njimfo, David Boly, Haris M’Dogo, Xavier Tsiendi, Joseph Peter, Kenan Doganay, Yanis Addich, Nassim Laarej, Loan Martot, Dee Jacinthe, Arone Gadou.

Substitutes: (used) Aymen Ammaouch, Chris Batola, Loan Merrifield, Abd Ilah Benkhiat, Nael Manoir, Yoann Becker; (unused) Thao Meuraillo (GK), Enzo Dias (GK), Mehdi Lahmadi, Djibril Cappe, Mohamed Diaby, Mathys Plessis.

Northern Ireland: Cole Smyth, Michael Kydd, Rhys Davidson, Calum Anderson (captain), Charlie Campbell, Sonny Trainor, Freddie Murdock, Caleb Sweeney, Luke Hawe, Joel Kerr, Coran Madden.

Substitutes: (used) Ross Campbell, Finlay Ross (in main image), Eamonn Tohill, Fintan McArdle, Emmett Morrison, Harry Gough, Paul Stanfield; (unused) Matthew Hayman (GK), Jake Hirthe.