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Saturday 06 Apr 2024
WU19s remain unbeaten after dominant performance

Northern Ireland’s Women’s Under-19 team turned in a dominant performance against Kazakhstan WU19s in their latest European qualifying game but found the opposition keeper to be in unbeatable form.


WU19 Euro 2024 Qualifiers - League B Group 5


Northern Ireland WU19s 0-0 Kazakhstan WU19s


Mikheil Meskhi II Stadium, Tbilisi


Saturday 6 April 2024

Team News

Gail Redmond made five changes to the side that started in the victory over group hosts Georgia on Wednesday, handing opportunities to keeper Kate Smith, Rebecca Magee, Niamh O'Donnell, Megan Neill and Sarah Tweedie. Huddersfield Town defender Tweedie was also named captain for the game.

Georgia is hosting the League B Group 5 mini tournament, while the other teams in the group are Estonia and Kazakhstan. The opening round of games saw Northern Ireland hit five without reply past Georgia, while Estonia defeated Kazakhstan by the odd goal in three.

The six group winners and the runner-up in League B with the best record against the teams finishing first and third in their group will be promoted to League A for 2024-25 round one.

How it happened

Looking to capitalise on Wednesday's superb victory, Northern Ireland got off to a great start with Aoibhe O'Neill firing just off target in the opening minute before, moments later, Sofie Keenan sent over a corner for Megan Neill to produce a save from keeper Assel Anuarbek.

The early pressure continued as O'Neill and Niamh O'Donnell had further attempts on goal before Kascie Weir missed the target from yet another Keenan set-piece.

Still Gail Redmond's side pushed forward with Weir and Faye Loughran both having a go, and all with less than 20 minutes on the clock!

The pace did slow a little towards the break, and although Weir threatened again the Kazakh defence successfully deployed the offside trap to catch O'Neill out on a number of occasions as the first half ended scoreless, albeit with Northern Ireland very much in control with eight attempts on goal as keeper Kate Smith was a virtual spectator for large periods of the game.

Half-time: Northern Ireland WU19s 0-0 Kazakhstan WU19s

It proved to be a similar pattern after the break as Loughran and Aimee Kerr had efforts on goal but both were unable to beat Anuarbek.

At the other end Smith was called into action for the first time to deal with an attempt from Diana Nakypbek, but normal service was soon resumed as O'Neill saw an effort blocked and Wednesday's hat-trick hero, Rachel McIntyre, tested Anuarbek.

And so it continued ... Sarah Tweedie was thwarted by a defender, Keenan delivered a succession of corners, Tweedie had another opportunity blocked with yet a further shot drifting just off target.

Pressing hard in the closing moments to secure the points, substitute Mikayla Wildgoose became the latest to have a go before Anuarbek once more denied Tweedie as the Kazakh goal was continually peppered in the six minutes of added time.

Anastasija Stanyte and Wildgoose right at the end but with Anuarbek proving to be in inspired there was no way through.

However, still unbeaten and still to concede, the WU19s are in a strong position as they conclude the group against Estonia, with six points from six following victory over Georgia, at the same venue next Tuesday (1pm kick-off BST).

Full-time: Northern Ireland WU19s 0-0 Kazakhstan WU19s


Northern Ireland: Kate Smith, Rebecca Magee, Niamh O'Donnell, Faye Loughran, Sofie Keenan, Megan Neill, Sarah Tweedie (captain), Aimee Kerr, Rachel McIntyre, Kascie Weir, Aoibhe O'Neill.

Substitutes: (used) Orleigha McGuinness, Mikayla Wildgoose, Anastasija Stanyte, Maeve McConaghy, Rebecca Mann; (not used) Erin McAllister (GK), Rhyleigh Marks, Sophie Magee, Abi Sweetlove.

Kazakhstan: Assel Anuarbek, Milana Yegiazaryan, Assel Orynbay, Alexandra Nabokova, Karina Botabek, Kazyna Norbayeva (captain), Diana Nakypbek, Ayazhan Kozhabekova, Anastassiya Pereima, Valeriya Popova, Elmira Abdullayeva.

Substitutes: (used) Adiya Askarova; (not used) Arina Oryol (GK), Assyl Kaken, Dayana Berikova, Tomiris Temirbekova, Zhansulu Nurgarzina, Adina Beibut, Nuray Zhalimbetova, Saidakhon Zainutdinova