Belfast Telegraph

Curry optimistic despite Northern Ireland Schoolboys losing to Scotland

Northern Ireland Schoolboys 0 Scotland Schoolboys 3

His Schoolboy international side may have lost 3-0 to Scotland in the opening game of the Victory Shield, but manager Desi Curry still believes football in Northern Ireland is progressing.

Curry believes the number of young footballers leaving Northern Ireland to peruse a professional career in Britain is a positive thing for the international set up.

After the 3-0 defeat at the Ballymena Showgrounds, Curry said: “We're semi-professional here, and we're trying to get our kids involved in the professional game.

“Last year, we sent 19 players across the water to sign professional contracts and we sent over 14 year the before. If you look at our Under 17, 19 and 21 squads nearly all of those players have came through the Victory Shield set up and now have professional contracts in England or Scotland.”

On the night, Northern Ireland started brightly before two first half goals from Ally Coote gave Scotland an unassailable lead. Substitute Mark Hill added a third goal in second half stoppage time after Northern Ireland goalkeeper Conor Hazard charged up the field for a corner kick.

Reflecting on the game Curry said: “We played well in patches. In the opening 10 minutes we played well, and in the second half we were certainly competitive, but the difference between the two sides were their strikers.

“Neither team passed the ball well, and neither team played as well as they could have, the difference was the goals and goals affect games. If we'd got a goal back early in the second half it might have been different story, I think we could have made a real fist of it.”

Former Huddersfield Town striker, and now manager of Scotland's Under 16 side, Scott Booth said:

“I felt we were a little bit nervous to be totally honest with you, I don't think we ever got to grips with the passing game we want to play, so from that perspective I'm quite disappointed.

“Of course, it was was great to see the boys win the match but at this level performance is more important and I know we can play better than that.

“I think the difference between us and Northern Ireland was a couple of moments of magic from Ally Coote. He's an exceptional player and he was probably the only player tonight that showed his full potential.”

Coote gave Scotland the lead in the 10th minute with a low range drive, before he doubled their advantage by completing a lovely team move in the 33rd minute. Despite Northern Ireland applying some pressure, Mark Hill added a third in the 80th minute.

Northern Ireland can now look forward to games against Wales and champions England. 

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