Northern Ireland: Victory Shield joy in sight

Gerald Boyle. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Gerald Boyle. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Northern Ireland Schoolboys stand one win away from a first Victory Shield triumph since 2001.

Gerald Boyle’s squad meet Wales in Tralee on Friday in search of success to cap a superb week of performances over the grassroots tournament.

Northern Ireland kicked off the competition on Monday by beating Republic of Ireland on a 3-1 scoreline before securing a share of the spoils with Scotland in County Kerry.

“We now want to push on and bring the Victory Shield home outright for only the second time in 73 years,” said boss Boyle. “I was delighted with the performances of all the boys and how they adapted tactically to Scotland’s set-up, especially going down to 10 men so early in the game.”

Scotland took the lead off Christopher Mochrie with a near-post finish before a second bookable offence led to Sean McAllister’s dismissal around the half-hour mark.

Manager Boyle reshuffled the ten-man Northern Ireland pack for the second half with three substitutions.

Charlie Allen came close to an equaliser after stepping off the bench, with another substitute - Euan Williams - steering home a superb shot on 50 minutes to make it 1-1.

Having ended up on level terms with Scotland in Tralee, Northern Ireland now tackle Wales at the same Mounthawk Park venue, with a 1 o’clock kick-off.

Scotland and Wales also finished with honours even, with the host nation defeating the latter by 4-0.

The under 16s’ competition is organised on behalf of the Schools’ Association Football International Board.

NORTHERN IRELAND SCHOOLBOYS: Conner Byrne, Jake Wallace (Charlie Allen, 40), Sean Stewart, Aaron Donnelly, Lewis MacKinnon, Orrin McLaughlin, Caolan McBride (Euan Williams, 40), Sean McAllister, Conor Bradley, Ross McCausland (Matthew Walker, 75), Ciaran McGuckin (Dale Taylor, 40).