REPORT | Ireland MU16 2-0 Northern Ireland MU16
Cillian Mulvihill’s first-half strike and a late finish from Trent Kone Doherty was enough to earn the win in a closely-fought game at Blanchflower Stadium.
The win denied Northern Ireland a three-way share of the competition along with Scotland and Wales with the Scottish beating their Welsh counterparts 2-0 earlier in the day.
It means Scotland and Wales share the title again as they did in the last edition of competition in 2019.
The win was a big boost to Ireland who had suffered narrow back-to-back losses against Scotland and Wales earlier in the week.
They showed no sign of a lack of confidence starting the game on the front foot.
Twelve minutes into the game, Mulvihill provided a defence splitting ball to Kone Doherty who drove at goal and was only stopped by a last-ditch tackle by Bobby Harvey before the Derry City forward could fire at goal.
Northern Ireland had a chance in the 20th minute when Ciaran O’Hara saw his looping header land wide of Jason Healy’s post.
Just after the half-hour mark Ireland went close again. Kone Doherty weaved his way into the box and drove a cross into the danger area that could only be cleared to Cory O’Sullivan. He fired at goal but Wilkins denied his shot with his feet.
Before half-time Ireland were in front. Kone Doherty’s pressing saw him pinch the ball from his defender, his attempt was saved by Wilkins but Mulvihill was the quickest to react and he found the corner for his first goal for his country.
In the second half came Northern Ireland’s best chance, an inswinging cross found O’Hara at the back post, his header beat Healy but not the cross bar.
The hosts piled on the pressure and in the 67th minute Ryan Donnelly struck a sweet volley over the bar. Two minutes later substitute Ryan Dalzell’s snap shot looked destined for the top corner but went wide.
As Northern Ireland looked for an equaliser Ireland settled the game in the last minute Naz Raji’s dangerous ball across goal was met by Kone Doherty for an easy tap-in to win the game.
Republic of Ireland: Healy; Mackey, O’Sullivan, Queally Hayden; Turley, Dodd (O’Halloran, 72), Razi; Kone Doherty, Mulvihill (Mooney, 63), Kehir.
Northern Ireland: Wilkins; Harvey (McToal, 70), Hamilton, McCloskey, Briggs, Austin, Turley, Donnelly (McDowell, 70), O’Hara, McGonigle, Morrison (Dalzell, 56)
Referee: Jonny Reid
Victory Shield results
Sunday, October 17 | Scotland MU16 1-0 Republic of Ireland MU16
Tuesday, October 19 | Wales MU16 2-1 Republic of Ireland MU16
Friday, October 22 | Republic of Ireland MU16 2-0 Northern Ireland MU16