Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland Under-19 starlets are set to face hurdles

By Graham Luney

While the Northern Ireland senior team is focused on the massive Euro 2016 qualifier against Finland on Sunday, the country's emerging talent have their own goals to achieve.

Stephen Craigan's Under-19 side are continuing their development in Holland this week while the Under-18 squad will wrestle with Scotland at Comber tomorrow in a Centenary Shield battle.

Craigan's charges are gearing up for two friendly games against the Netherlands U19s and AZ Alkmaar.

First up is the Holland side at the Sportpark Zegersloot tonight (7.00pm) before the boys tackle AZ Alkmaar on Saturday at the Afaz Stadium (12.30pm).

Three Irish League players are included in the travelling party - strikers Andy Mooney of Cliftonville, Linfield's Adam Sally and Glenavon midfielder Gary Lavery.

Under-18 managers Conor Marlin and Frankie Wilson have had to make two changes to their squad for the Inspiresport Centenary Shield international against Scotland tomorrow (4.45pm).

Paul Smyth and Ronan Hale have been called into the squad.

Smyth is the first boy from St Louise's Comprehensive School to gain international representative honours while Hale is the brother of Rory Hale, who was capped at Under-16 level three years ago, and is the grandson of former Crusaders striker Danny Hale.

Wilson said: "Losing (Adam) Sally and (Andy) Mooney is a big blow to our Centenary Shield challenge but we welcome their selection for the Under-19 team and wish them well."

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