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Michael O'Neill excited by Uruguay test

By Graham Luney

Michael O'Neill says he views Northern Ireland's friendly against Uruguay on May 30 as a massive learning experience for his players.

The Northern Ireland boss is excited to be pitting his wits against South American opponents and the Irish FA is hopeful of arranging another friendly game in the region against a Fifa World Cup finals participant.

The match in Montevideo will be informative to Uruguay as they face England in Brazil while O'Neill is gearing up for Euro 2016 qualification games in September.

"This will be a good opportunity for the team to play against top class opposition," said O'Neill.

"It will be a great experience for the players and also a chance for them to play in South America – something which doesn't happen often happen in a player's career.

"It will be a difficult challenge, but a great one for both the team and for me as a manager."

Irish FA president Jim Shaw added: "There is no friendly date in August this year, so the Uruguay friendly will be an important game looking ahead to the European qualifiers."

The sides last met in New Jersey in 2006, during current manager Oscar Tabarez's first match in charge.

Northern Ireland lost that game 1-0 but they did triumph in the two previous occasions the sides have met – in April, 1964 with a 3-0 victory in Belfast and May, 1990 with Kevin Wilson netting in a 1-0 home win.

Northern Ireland are also scheduled to take on Cyprus on Wednesday, March 5 at the GSP Stadium in Nicosia.

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