Armstrong penalty lands McConkey's men a well-earned draw with Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland 1 (Dean Carpenter, 48) Northern Ireland 1 (William Armstrong, pen 78)
Harry McConkey was delighted with the performance of his Northern Ireland Amateurs after they hit back to claim a deserved 1-1 draw with the Republic of Ireland Amateurs in a warm-up game ahead of both sides upcoming UEFA Regions Cup qualifiers.
Welders full back William Armstrong netted the equaliser from the penalty spot on 78 minutes after his storming run into the home box was halted by defender Paul McMillen’s over zealous attempts to tackle him and Armstrong got up to coolly beat Adrian Walsh.
After a scoreless first half, Dean Carpenter shot the Republic in front three minutes into the second period combining well with Michael Fox to finish smartly past Brian Neeson.
Both sides went on to create decent chances to clinch the win and Richard Thompson was close with a glancing header.
At the other end, goalkeeper Craig Barnett denied Fox with two superb saves in the closing minutes.
McConkey reflected with quiet satisfaction on a very pleasing performance by his 19 man squad.
"It’s a difficult time of the season to be trying to pull a squad together that will do us justice in the forthcoming UEFA Regions Cup qualifiers. Our season is just beginning and added to that for this game most of the lads were in action for their clubs last night," explained McConkey whose side will entertain the Republic at Donegal Celtic in a return fixture next Wednesday (7pm).
"However I think on the night we deserved the draw and I’m pleased with how well they all performed. It’s good to get the opportunity to play these games with the Republic, as it’s a great help towards sorting out the final squad of players to travel to Moldova next month for the fixtures with Ukraine, Spain and the hosts," continued McConkey.
Manager Gerry Smith is also preparing for the Republic’s Regions Cup qualifiers and a trip to Hungary in October where they will face Lithuania, Spain and Hungary.
Republic of Ireland: Danny O’Leary (Avondale Utd); John Meleady (Tolka Rovers), Paddy Brophy (St Kevins Boys), Ross Carrig (Crumlin Utd) Reece McEnteer (Glebe North); James Carr (St Michael’s), Danny Loughran (Crumlin Utd), Conor Riddick (Bangor Celtic), Kenny Murphy (Avondale Utd); Ian Stapleton (Cobh Wanderers)Thomas Dunne (St Patricks CY).
Subs all used: Adrian Walsh (Carrick Utd), Paul McMillen (St Paul’s), Dean Carpenter (Collinstown), Thomas Fahy (St Michael’s), Paul Breen (St Michael’s), Michael Fox (Bangor Celtic), Mark Mooney (Kilbarrack Utd).
Northern Ireland: Brian Neeson (Knockbreda); Gareth Ringland (Lisburn Rangers), Daniel McMurray (H&W Welders), Scott McMillen (Shankill Utd), William Armstrong (H&W Welders); Daniel Culbert (Queens Univ), Ethan Boylan (Bangor), Barry Walsh (Bangor), Jordan Gibson (Dollingstown), Richard Thompson (Dollingstown); Stephen Murray (Armagh City).
Subs all used: Craig Barnett (Ards), Ryan McGerrigan (Armagh City), Darragh Noonan (Armagh City), Ultan Lennon (Armagh City), Eamon Kelly (Armagh City), Johnny McClurg (Ballyclare Comrades), Gary Warwick (Ards), Steven Brown (Crumlin Star).
Referee: Colm O’Neill (Dublin).
Belfast Telegraph Digital