Centenary Shield | Ireland host Wales in season opener


Centenary Shield | U18 Boys’ International


Press Release: Monday, February 13, 2017


Schools to open their account against Welsh Dragons


Republic of Ireland vs Wales


HOME FARM FC, Whitehall will host the first competitive fixture of the 2017 Inspiresport Centenary Shield this Thursday, February 16 as the Schools International kicks off at 2.30pm.


Trinity Comprehensive School teacher, Paddy O’Reilly will take the helm yet again having captured runners up spot last season with an unbeaten record, which saw the Republic of Ireland draw 2-2 to eventual Champions England away from home. O’Reilly enjoyed a marvellous introduction to management when he guided his Country to silverware in Sligo Rovers back in 2015 when they were crowned Centenary Shield Champions, again with an unbeaten record to their credit. It will be interesting to see what this season will bring with a new look side at his disposal.


The Irish Schools select played Australia in a competitive friendly at the same match venue last month but lost out to the physicality of the Aussie’s when they went down 2-0 that day. Since that outing, O’Reilly has introduced two newbies as St. Enda’s College student Evan Murphy and Loreto Community School scholar Connor Gormley are called into the squad. 


Another notably absentee from the Australian encounter is Rice College starlet Colm Walsh O’Loghlen. The Ennis lad picked up a knock while playing for his school and will miss out on the season opener. This paves the way for a late call up for Athlone Community College pupil Conor Layng who has been on the fringes of the squad for some time now.


The Welsh side had an impressive run out against the English Independent Schools FA earlier this month, drawing 2-2 in an action packed match. Keane Watts of Maesteg College secured the brace for Marc Lloyd Williams’ side.


The Republic of Ireland have enjoyed the upper hand in most of their encounters with the Welsh over the years, winning all but three of their previous 16 outings. They drew 2-2 in Killarney in 2011 and again on the same score-line in 2012 when the Irish travelled to Carmarthern.


Last season saw the Irish win 3-0 away from home. Aaron Drinan scored a brace in the first half while Jamie Aherne converted from the penalty spot early in the second half at Llandundo to take all three points in the final game of their campaign.


Wales have a point to prove this season and their preparations have gone exceptionally well under the watchful eye of ex-professional footballer Marc Lloyd Williams. It should make for an incredible opening game of the season.


Following the Welsh game, the Irish will be out again in a fortnight’s time as they make the short journey to Bangor to take on Northern Ireland on March 2. Their penultimate fixture will see them away to Scotland on April 6 as Renfrew Park plays host. The Irish will entertain defending Champions England in their final game of the season when the face the lions on April 13, again in Home Farm FC.


REPUBLIC OF IRELAND:Paul MARTIN (Presentation De La Salle, Bagenalstown) James CARROLL (St. Oliver’s Community College, Drogheda), Darryl WALSH (St. Declan’s Community College, Waterford), Evan MURPHY (St. Enda’s College, Salthill), Shane BLANEY (St. Eunan’s College, Letterkenny), Alec BYRNE (Carrigaline Community School), John MAHON (Coola Post Primary School), John MARTIN (Presentation De La Salle, Bagenalstown), Ronan MANNING (Calasanctius College, Oranmore), Neill BYRNE (Dunshaughlin Community College), Neil FARRUGIA (St. Andrew’s College, Blackrock), Seán McDONALD (Clonkeen College, Blackrock), Tunmise SOBOWALE (Mount Sion CBS, Waterford), Connor GORMLEY (Loreto Community School, Milford), Conor LAYNG (Athlone Community College), Jamie BELL (St. Columba’s College, Stranorlar), Vinny QUINLAN (Gorey Community School), Steven NOLAN (St. Aidan’s CBS, Whitehall)


WALES: Cai Powell-Roberts (Menai), Kurtis Rees, Daniel Williams & Callum Saunders (all Gower), Liam Snowden, Carn Thomas & Cameron Keetch (all Bridgend), George Coulton & Conor Harwood (both Cambria), Liam Testino-Lee & Iwan Roberts (both Sir Gar), Jack Atkinson (Castell Alun), Keane Royall (Gwent, Cross Keys), Keane Watts (Maesteg), Owain Jones (Dyffryn Conwy), Rhydian Morgan (Creuddyn)


2017 Centenary Shield Fixtures List

February 16         Republic of Ireland vs Wales                        Home Farm FC, Whitehall (2.30pm)

March 2                Northern Ireland vs Republic of Ireland  Clandeboye Park, Bangor (3pm)

March 3                Scotland vs England                                        Cappielow Park, Greenock (7pm)

March 17              Wales vs Scotland                                             Bala FC (7pm)

March 24             England vs Northern Ireland                        Torquay United FC (7pm)

March 31              Northern Ireland vs Scotland                       Cliftonville, Belfast (3pm)

April 6                   Scotland vs Republic of Ireland                  Renfrew Park, Glasgow (7pm)

April 12                  Wales vs Northern Ireland                             Cardiff Metropolitan University FC (7pm)

April 13                  Republic of Ireland vs England                   Home Farm FC, Whitehall (7pm)

April 21                  England vs Wales                                              Bristol Rovers FC (7pm)