Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport

Euro 2016 coutndown: Liam Boyce, Billy McKay and Caolan Lavery know the score for France

By Steven Beacom

I've written already in our Euro 2016 countdown that only TWO strikers have nailed down their place for France - Kyle Lafferty and Josh Magennis.

That means spots in attack are up for grabs. My belief is that Liam Boyce is next on the list but he and a few other forwards will be well aware that what they do on club duty over the next few months could determine where they spend next summer.

Boyce scored his 12th goal of the season for Ross County in a 3-0 win over Motherwell on Saturday.

Not to be outdone, Billy McKay netted for Dundee United in a 2-1 loss against St Johnstone and Caolan Lavery was on target as Portsmouth drew 2-2 with Carlisle.

Good to see our boys scoring and giving O'Neill much to ponder.

Read more:

Northern Ireland supporters fuming with Irish FA over Euro 2016 ticketing policy

For now, Northern Ireland striker Kyle Lafferty has to stay at Norwich City 

On the flip side, Lafferty was again an unused substitute for Norwich in their 1-0 defeat at Chelsea.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland star Shane Ferguson is starting to make a name for himself at Millwall.

The 24-year-old left the pitch at The Den on Saturday with applause from the home fans ringing in his ears when he was substituted in the second-half following a superb two-goal performance in Millwall's 4-1 victory over Colchester in League One.

Up until the weekend Ferguson, on loan from Newcastle, had not netted for the London outfit but he put that right against Colchester, building on promising displays for the Lions this season and an impressive cameo off the bench for Northern Ireland in the 1-0 win over Latvia earlier this month.

Ferguson has always been greatly encouraged when fans are behind him, hence why he has rarely let the team down at international level, and why he is enjoying himself right now at club level.

After all, you don't get much more passionate support than when playing for Millwall.

International boss Michael O'Neill is set to take Ferguson to next year's Euro finals, liking his ability to play several positions on the left side.

Clearly, Millwall manager Neil Harris is also keen on the modest Londonderry lad, who works hard on his game.

Harris said: "Shane is a great lad, first and foremost. He has added some balance to our left side and certainly brings ability to the squad.

"He took his two goals very well. He was hugely disappointed that he missed an opportunity up at Blackpool but was in a similar situation against Colchester and scored both.

"He works hard at his game and is often the last one off the training pitch because he practices free-kicks."

In League One tomorrow, Millwall visit Fleetwood which will see Ferguson come face to face with Northern Ireland team-mate Conor McLaughlin. An interesting tussle awaits.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph