Centenary Shield | U18 Boys’ International
Press Release: Thursday, March 2, 2017
Farrugia nets match winner for Republic of Ireland
Northern Ireland 1-2 Republic of Ireland
Daniel Reynolds (36) Alec Byrne (80), Neil Farrugia (84)
THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND SCHOOLS came from a goal down at half time to finish with a late flourish thanks to an 80th minute equaliser from Carrigaline star Alec Byrne followed up four minutes later by St. Andrew’s scholar Neil Farrugia to bag the match winner.
Farrugia turned supplier for their first and netted for the second to take all three points in a crunch encounter in Bangor Fuels Arena this afternoon.
Northern Ireland made a startling impression on the game as they hit the woodwork three times inside the 4th minute of play, the first coming off a Republic of Ireland defender which Scannell and Strain headed from just 6 yards out.
Bagenalstown student John Martin was lively with a quarter of the game played, he shot two quick fire balls into the danger zone but they were just wide of Larkin’s post.
Northern Ireland were the more likely to score as the half hour mark beckoned. Daniel Reynolds was making light work of the Irish defense and tested Paul Martin in goal but the young Presentation DLS student pulled off an exceptional save to deny Reynolds the opener.
However, Reynolds did get the better of the Republic of Ireland keeper six minutes later as Ryan Strain found some space in midfield to play a delightfully weighted pass to the on running Reynolds. The young Belfast Met pupil deceived the offside trap and placed a wonderful ball past Martin for Frankie Wilson’s side to take the advantage into the interval.
O’Reilly made two crucial substitutions at half time as Athlone CC star Conor Layng and St. Aidan’s CBS talisman Steven Nolan were introduced for Neill Byrne (Dunshaughlin CC) and Seán McDonald (Clonkeen College). The impetus was with the visitors now as they pressed for an early equaliser.
Neil Farrugia stepped up his fancy footwork down the right flank and made a darting run forward, his effort went agonising close as it hit the side netting on 62 minutes.
Three minutes later, saw the Republic of Ireland produce a lovely passage of play which saw Shane Blaney play an inviting ball from the half way line into Neil Farrugia as he headed down to the on rushing John Martin at the edge of the box. Martin took on the half volley but the versatile Conor Larkin made an excellent one handed save to deny the Republic an equaliser.
With ten minutes remaining, St. Declan’s CC man Darryl Walsh played a long ball to Farrugia down the left, again the St. Andrew’s pupil rounded his man to cut the ball back for Alec Byrne to despatch into the far corner for a well-deserved equaliser.
O’Reilly’s crew had the momentum with them now as they looked more composed in possession.
Their second goal came four minutes later as a long ball from St. Eunan’s Shane Blaney in defence was headed on by substitute Conor Layng, who found Neil Farrugia on the edge of the box, he coolly slotted past Larkin for the dramatic match winner.
Two wins from two as the Republic travel to Glasgow for their penultimate game against the Scots on April 6. The final game of the series for the Republic will see them at home to England on April 13 at Home Farm FC.
Northern Ireland will brush themselves down from this encounter as they focus on an away fixture to England on March 24 in their second outing of the season.
O’Reilly and his management staff will no doubt be eager to see how the third game in the Centenary Shield series goes as Scotland face England tomorrow night (Friday, March 3) in their opening game of proceedings as Cappielow Park, Greenock plays host.
Northern Ireland | Larkin, Coyle, Scannell, Donnelly, Toal, Burns ©, O’Mahony, Kirk, Strain, Owens, Reynolds
Subs | Dunne, Roscoe, Nolan for Reynolds (68), Wilson, Crane, Young for Kirk (64), Forde for O’Mahony (81)
Republic of Ireland | P Martin, Carroll, Walsh, Murphy ©, Blaney, A Byrne, J Martin, Manning, N Byrne, Farrugia, McDonald
Subs | J Mahon, Sobowale for Carroll (68), Gormley for Manning (90), Layng for McDonald (HT), Bell (GK), Quinlan, Nolan for N Byrne (HT).
NORTHERN IRELAND | Conor Larkin (Drumcree College), Christopher Crane & Eamon Scannell (both Corpus Christi College), Eoin Toal (St. Patrick’s, Armagh), Daniel Reynolds, Fra Nolan, Conall Young & Aaron Donnelly (all Belfast Met), Bobby Burns (St. Malachy’s College), Andy Scott (Drumragh Integrated College), Lorcan Forde (Abbey Grammar, Newry), Niall Owens (St. Michael’s College), Ryan Strain Caolin Coyle (both Northern Regional College), Deccy Dunne (Mercy College), Thomas Roscoe (Wallace High School), Matthew Kirk (St. Columb’s College), Jack O’Mahony (Slemish College)
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND | Paul MARTIN (Presentation De La Salle, Bagenalstown) James CARROLL (St. Oliver’s Community College, Drogheda), Darryl WALSH (St. Declan’s Community College, Waterford), Evan MURPHY (St. Enda’s College, Salthill), Shane BLANEY (St. Eunan’s College, Letterkenny), Alec BYRNE (Carrigaline Community School), John MAHON (Coola Post Primary School), John MARTIN (Presentation De La Salle, Bagenalstown), Ronan MANNING (Calasanctius College, Oranmore), Neill BYRNE (Dunshaughlin Community College), Neil FARRUGIA (St. Andrew’s College, Blackrock), Seán McDONALD (Clonkeen College, Blackrock), Tunmise SOBOWALE (Mount Sion CBS, Waterford), Connor GORMLEY (Loreto Community School, Milford), Conor LAYNG (Athlone Community College), Jamie BELL (St. Columba’s College, Stranorlar), Vinny QUINLAN (Gorey Community School), Steven NOLAN (St. Aidan’s CBS, Whitehall)
2017 Centenary Shield
February 16 Republic of Ireland 2-1 Wales Home Farm FC, Whitehall (2.30pm)
March 2 Northern Ireland 1-2 Republic of Ireland Bangor Fuels Arena, Bangor FC (3pm)
March 3 Scotland vs England Cappielow Park, Greenock (7pm)
March 17 Wales vs Scotland Bala FC (7pm)
March 24 England vs Northern Ireland Torquay United FC (7pm)
March 31 Northern Ireland vs Scotland Cliftonville, Belfast (3pm)
April 6 Scotland vs Republic of Ireland Renfrew Park, Glasgow (7pm)
April 12 Wales vs Northern Ireland Cardiff Metropolitan University FC (7pm)
April 13 Republic of Ireland vs England Home Farm FC, Whitehall (7pm)
April 21 England vs Wales Bristol Rovers FC (7pm)