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Wednesday 20 Mar 2024
U17s scuppered by second half goal blitz

Northern Ireland’s Under-17s lost out to England in their opening game in the UEFA U17 Euro 2024 Elite Round Qualifiers. A second half goal blitz from England saw them secure all three points.


UEFA U17 Euro 2024 Elite Round Qualifiers


England U17 5-1 Northern Ireland U17


England: Divine Mukasa (30’, 88’), Ethan Nwaneri (63’), Baylee Dipepa (66’, 69’)

Northern Ireland: Callum Burnside (19’)


St George’s Park, Staffordshire


20 March 2024

Team News

Northern Ireland U17 coaches Andy Waterworth and Kris Lindsay have chosen a 20-strong panel to compete in the elite round qualifiers this month. The U17s are in Group 1 along with England, France and Hungary.

England are top seeds in the group, while the French are second seeds and the Hungarians third seeds.

The UEFA European Under-17 Championship elite round features 32 teams split into eight groups of four. The 32 teams will compete for 15 spots alongside hosts Cyprus in the finals from 20 May to 5 June. The eight elite round group winners and seven runners-up with the best records will qualify for the final tournament.

How it happened

The first half was a pretty even contest, with few clearcut chances created by either side.

Northern Ireland took the lead on 19 minutes when attacker Callum Burnside steered the ball home.

On the half-hour mark England midfielder Divine Mukasa levelled things up.

After that Northern Ireland midfielder Dylan Stitt put an effort wide, while Mukasa also missed the target.

Half-time: England U17 1-1 Northern Ireland U17

Striker Braiden Graham tested England keeper Spike Brits just after the restart before Keevan Hawthorne sent an effort wide.

On 58 minutes the home side made a couple of substitutions and one of the subs, striker Baylee Dipepa, would go on to make quite an impact.

England edged in front five minutes later when midfielder Ethan Nwaneri netted. Then Leo Shahar found Dipepa who put the hosts 3-1 ahead in the 66th minute. And Dipepa scored his second of the game just three minutes later.

Northern Ireland continued to battle hard. Captain Blaine McClure fired a free-kick just wide and Brits saved well from substitute Ceadach O’Neill, who then had another effort before Mukasa scored his second of the game to make it 5-1.

McClure almost pulled one back in added time, however Brits produced a decent stop.

England had 13 attempts on goal during the game, while Northern Ireland had eight. England were more ruthless when it came to finishing.

Matchday two will see Northern Ireland take on France at SGP on Saturday (23 March), with a 7pm start. The French defeated Hungary 2-1 this evening. Northern Ireland’s final game in the mini tournament is against the Hungarians at SGP next Tuesday (26 March), again at 7pm.

Full-time: England U17 5-1 Northern Ireland U17


England U17: Spike Brits, Leo Shahar, Jesse Derry, Jaden Dixon, Samuel Amissah, Harry Amass, Ethan Nwaneri, Joshua King, Luca Fletcher, Christopher Rigg (captain), Divine Mukasa.

Substitutes: Oliver Whatmuff (GK), Christian McFarlane, Trevan Sanusi, Baylee Dipepa, Jay Robinson, Ryan McAidoo, Ollie Harrison.

Northern Ireland U17: Will Murdock, Senan Devine, Callum Leacock, James Simpson, Alfie Friars, Jack Doherty, Blaine McClure (captain), Dylan Stitt, Braiden Graham, Callum Burnside, Keevan Hawthorne.

Substitutes: (used) Oscar Kelly, Alex Watson, Matthew Orr, Ceadach O’Neill; (unused) Owen Grainger (GK), Conor Haughey, Ryan Corrigan, Cole Brannigan, Troy Savage.