Nicholl's NI starlets are taught a hard lesson
Northern Ireland were hit with a dose of harsh reality as they kicked off their Girls' Under-17 European Championship Elite Round with a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Denmark.
Manager Alison Nicholl was well aware that the competition would be a step up to that which they faced in the previous stage - and that is exactly how it proved.
Not only were the Danes slick going forward they were also strong at the back, not allowing Northern Ireland a shot on goal throughout the game.
They could have scored more too, hitting the woodwork as well as being denied on a number of occasions by Northern Ireland goalkeeper Lauren Currie, who is still only 15-years-old.
Midfielder Agnete Nielsen gave the Danes a dream start when she put them in front after only three minutes.
Northern Ireland survived an onslaught and got to half-time still only one behind.
Denmark scored twice in the space of four minutes midway through the second-half to take control of the game.
Karen Holmgaard struck on 60 minutes and just a minute after Currie had made a fine save from Sofie Svava, the Danes' lead was doubled by Kamilla Karlsen.
Holmgaard then scored her second of the game and Denmark's fourth a minute from time.
NORTHERN IRELAND: Currie, Bryce, Robson, White, Hamilton, Cochrane (Mackin 58 mins), Beattie, Orr, Bassett, Magee (Beggs 68 mins), Crawford. Subs not used: Callaghan, Ruddy, Kearney, Baine, McMurray.
Referee: Sabayel Gurbanova (Azerbaijan).