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Monday 29 Apr 2024
U16s sign off in Estonia with a win

Northern Ireland’s Under-16 boys’ development team defeated hosts Estonia in their final game in a four-team UEFA tournament.


UEFA U16 Development Tournament


Estonia U16 0-2 Northern Ireland U16


Northern Ireland: Chris Atherton (54’), Glenn McCourt (72’)


Estonian FA’s National Training Centre, Tallinn


28 April 2024

Team News

Head coach Kris Lindsay made seven changes to his starting line-up for Northern Ireland’s third and final game at the U16 development tournament in Estonia.

Goalkeeper Finn McDonnell, who was replaced by Zak Robinson for game two against Luxembourg, was back between the posts.

Also returning to the starting line-up were Chris Atherton, Matthew Burns, Callum Downey and Leon Barr.

And Shay Reid and Harry Allen, who were on the bench for the opening two games, were starters this time.

How it happened

Estonia had the ball in the net after two minutes, however the ‘goal’ was ruled out for offside.

Northern Ireland controlled the game for long spells after that. Chris Atherton was dragged down in the box after 14 minutes, however the referee did not award a penalty.

Atherton and Brandon Downey combined to feed Harry Allen. His fine delivery into the six-yard box evaded his team-mates.

Then Brandon Downey teed up Shay Reid and his low shot was well saved by Estonia keeper Kaarel Ruus.

Half-time: Estonia U16 0-0 Northern Ireland U16

Northern Ireland took the lead in the 54th minute thanks to a cracking goal from Atherton. The attacker cut inside past a couple of defenders on the edge of the area and curled the ball into the bottom corner.

The visitors continued to push forward. Allen’s cross into the area was met by Darragh McCann who headed over the top, and then substitute Glenn McCourt slipped the ball to Callum Downey just inside the area and his shot flew over the top.

On 72 minutes Northern Ireland grabbed their second. Substitute Kalum Thompson played in McCourt and his sweet strike from 18 yards flew into the net off the inside of the post.

Another sub, Sidney Eldred, showed good strength on the ball before feeding McCann, whose rasping effort was saved by Ruus.

The victory meant Northern Ireland finished second overall. Ukraine, whom Lindsay’s team drew with in game one, and earned an extra point against after winning a penalty shootout, pipped them by a point. In Northern Ireland’s other game they drew with Luxembourg but lost a penalty shootout.

Full-time: Estonia U16 0-2 Northern Ireland U16


Estonia: Kaarel Ruus, Romet Leppik, Johann Allas, Mohamed Ouertani, Remo Valdmets (captain), Karl Magi, Marten-Chris Paalberg, Sander Alamaa, Markus Jarl, Tristan Zahovaiko, Artjem Fesenko.

Substitutes: Romet Lipson (GK), Mikhail Dzemesjuk, Rasmus Orm, Artjom Truuvaart, Patrick Pihlak, Jakob Kais, Ekke Keskula, Nikita Kalmokov, Bruno Ounapuu, Arnas Besigirskis, Eerik Paltser.

Northern Ireland: Finn McDonnell, Oisin Gamble, Noah McDonnell, Leon Barr, Christian Coyle, Callum Downey, Harry Allen, Brandon Downey, Chris Atherton, Matthew Burns (captain), Shay Reid.

Substitutes: (used) Darragh McCann, Sidney Eldred, Jayden Charnley, Zak Robinson (GK), Jack Faloona, Glenn McCourt, Kalum Thompson, Cohen Beattie; (unused) Scott Hamilton.