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Wednesday 21 Feb 2024
WU17s enjoy emphatic victory over Malta

Northern Ireland’s Women’s Under-17 team produced an excellent display to defeat Malta WU17s by five goals to one in a Euro qualifier staged in Malta this morning.


Women’s U17 Euro 2024 Qualifiers, League B Group 5


Malta WU17 1-5 Northern Ireland WU17


Malta: Bartolo (24’)

Northern Ireland: Breen (5’), Boothroyd (15’), G Conway (26’), Ferreira (84’, 86’)


Centenary Stadium, Ta’Qali


21 February 2024

Team News

Northern Ireland’s Women’s Under-17 team are facing Malta and Luxembourg this week in stage two of the qualifiers for Women’s U17 Euro 2024.

WU17s boss Gail Redmond has chosen a 20-strong panel for the two games in League B Group 5 which are being played in Malta.

New to the panel are defender Olivia Best, who plays for North Carolina Courage in the United States, and Larne Women midfielder Ella Parker.

How it happened

Northern Ireland got off to a great start when striker Rhianna Breen netted after just five minutes.

They continued on the front foot and Breen forced a save out of Malta keeper Maya Muscat before the girls in green and white went further ahead when fellow striker Niamh Boothroyd tucked the ball home.

Muscat saved from debutant Olivia Best before Malta pulled a goal back through defensive midfielder Francesca Bartolo.

Another Northern Ireland forward, Gracie Conway, then get in on the scoring act when she slid the ball past Muscat to make it 3-1. Boothroyd provided the assist.

Midfielder Mia Moore had a shot blocked just before the interval, while Malta right-back Kaysia Micallef also had an effort blocked.

Half-time: Malta WU17 1-3 Northern Ireland WU17

Conway dragged a couple of efforts wide as Northern Ireland continued to push forward when the action resumed.

Breen had a shot blocked, and also missed the target with an effort, before Muscat saved from substitute Zoe Knox.

Breen and Boothroyd made way for Sophie Kelly-Bradley and Bernie Ferreira – and Ferreira made quite an impact from the bench.

Northern Ireland captain Darcie McNeill squandered a chance and Malta substitute Amelia Vassallo had a shot blocked before Ferreira missed an opportunity on 66 minutes.

However, in the 84th minute, the substitute made her next chance count, slotting home to make it 4-1 to Northern Ireland.

And just two minutes later she nicked the ball off a defender and coolly slotted it past Muscat to give Northern Ireland a 5-1 lead – and that’s how it finished.

Next up for Northern Ireland is the Euro qualifier against Luxembourg. It’s also being staged in Ta’Qali – on Saturday (24 February) with a 10am UK time start.

Full-time: Malta WU17 1-5 Northern Ireland WU17


Malta: Maya Muscat, Kaysia Micallef, Thea Ida Scicluna, Stella Francalanza, Aisha Micallef, Lexine Farrugia (captain), Amber Galea, Francesca Bartolo, Ema Micallef, Nyorah Celeste, Sara Saliba.

Substitutes: (used) Leanne Frendo, Amelia Vassallo, Lisa Calleja, Maia Gauci, Suzanne Farrugia Sacco; (not used) Julia Maria Zarb (GK), Ilona Abela, Ylenia Azzopardi, Thais Muscat.

Northern Ireland: Abbie Smith, Niamh Hassan, Olivia Best, Daisy Conway, Ellen Hampton, Mia Moore, Darcie McNeill (captain), Clodagh Maguire, Niamh Boothroyd, Rhianna Breen, Gracie Conway.

Substitutes: (used) Laura Dowey, Zoe Knox, Bernie Ferreira, Sophie Kelly-Bradley, Jessica McGuinness; (not used) Zara Maguire (GK), Rhianna Murphy, Ella Parker, Lucy Kelly.