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NI Eastern Region 2 Wurttemberg 2: Thompson doubles up for Northern Ireland but Germans bounce back

By Keith Bailie

Northern Ireland's amateur international team surrendered a two-goal lead to German side Wurttemberg in their opening game at the Uefa Regions Cup.

Harry McConkey's side raced into the lead at Home Farm's Whitehall ground in Dublin thanks to a brace from Dollingstown striker Richard Thompson, but two goals inside the last 15 minutes gave the German side a share of the spoils.

The Ulstermen played the majority of the game with 10 men, as Colum Curtis received a red card in the first half.

Thompson was the goalscoring hero of Northern Ireland's qualifying campaign, so it was perhaps no surprise that he was the man to grab the first goal of the game in the 12th minute.

Thompson doubled his tally just two minutes later. Curtis picked up his first yellow in the 28th minute before receiving a second nine minutes later.

McConkey's men battled bravely until the 78th minute when keeper Brian Neeson conceded a penalty for a foul on Mario Marinic. Manuel Pflumn stroked the spot-kick home.

Germany grabbed the equaliser in the 81st minute, with Marinic scoring from a corner-kick.

In the group's other game Croatian side Zagreb beat Polish representatives Dolnoslaski 4-0.

McConkey's men will have the opportunity to climb to the top of the group tomorrow when they play their Croatian counterparts at Richmond Park, the home of St. Patrick's Athletic. They will be without the suspended Curtis.

In the other group, Republic of Ireland had a 2-0 win over Turkey and the Czech Republic beat Bosnia 1-0. The winner of each group will contest the final at Tallaght Stadium on July 4.

NI Eastern Region: Neeson (Carrick); McMillan (Welders), McMurray (Welders), Doyle (Carrick), Armstrong (Welders); Curtis (Ards), Kelly (Armagh), Buckely (Ards) Cooper (Ballyclare); Murray (Armagh), Thompson (Dollingston). Subs: 73 O'Riordan (Immaculata) for Cooper, 75 Montgomery (Armagh) for Thompson, 85 Gibson (Dollingston) for Murray.

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