Republic of Ireland secure win in Belfast


SAFIB hummel Centenary Shield | Under 18 Boys’ International


Thursday, March 30, 2023



Northern Ireland 1-2 Republic of Ireland

Michael Morgan (24)                                          Eli Rooney (13), Niall Holahan (45+2)


The Republic of Ireland Schools ended their season on a positive note following a hard-earned victory over Northern Ireland in the 2023 SAFIB hummel Centenary Shield campaign in Belfast tonight (March 30).


Two first half goals courtesy of Eli Rooney (Summerhill College, Sligo) and Niall Holahan (Carrick On Shannon Community School) cancelled out Michael Morgan’s effort to ensure the three points on offer at Blanchflower Park.


The hosts made an explosive start to the game with Corey Smith coming close to breaking the deadlock in the first minute as he snuck in at the far post, but the effort went wide of the target.


Northern Ireland enjoyed much of the early possession, but the Irish defense just did enough at times to keep the hosts at bay.


The Republic of Ireland then took the lead on 13 minutes through an Eli ROONEY header as Aidan Russell Vargas’ corner was well placed at the back post to smash home for the Summerhill College scholar. 


Northern Ireland responded in the 24th minute with Michael MORGAN slotting in past Dáithi Folan and Jonathan Adedeji. The Republic will feel hard done by as Eli Rooney was wrestled to the ground enroute to the build up to that goal.


Belvedere College star Dáithí Folan managed to crave out a double save five minutes from the break to deny Morgan and Donnelly in quick succession.


It was the Republic of Ireland that would lead at the interval as Niall HOLAHAN scored a crucial goal two minutes into added time. The Carrick on Shannon star darting down the right wing to slot the ball precisely into the far corner, leaving Ryan Kerr with no chance.


It was a much more cagey affair in the second half as a raft of substitutes were made by Northern Ireland.


There was very little clear-cut chances created with Brian Cunningham and Peter Grogan coming close on occasion albeit from distance.


John McShane made some changes late on as Dara Kavanagh (De La Salle College, Waterford) made his debut between the sticks. Also marking a first appearance and first start in the Shield was Rice College, Westport grad Daniel Kelly who played the full ninety.


A nice conclusion for John McShane’s troops as they captured that elusive win that evaded them against the Welsh.


A better team won with England’s dominance in Athlone last Friday and a spate of missed opportunities against Scotland on opening night saw them collect 4 of the possible 12 points on offer this season with one draw, 2 defeats and a win.


Elsewhere in the campaign, Scotland entertain England tomorrow night (March 31) while Wales and Scotland line out the following week (April 13).  Then it’s Northern Ireland final game away to England the night after (April 14)


While the Shield ends with the two favourites meeting when England take on defending Champions Wales in Hednesford Town FC on April 28.


REPUBLIC OF IRELAND SCHOOLS | Daithí FOLAN (Belvedere College, Dublin), Daniel KELLY (Rice College, Westport) Jonathan ADEDEJI (St. Mary’s Secondary School, Edenderry), Jesse DEMPSEY (Wexford CBS), Eli ROONEY (Summerhill College, Sligo), Niall HOLAHAN (Carrick on Shannon Community School), Arran HEALY (Coláiste Choilm, Ballincollig), Peter GROGAN (St. Mary’s CBS, Carlow), Brian CUNNINGHAM © (Presentation College, Headford),  Adam O’HALLARON (Clarin College, Athenry), Aidan RUSSELL VARGAS (Lusk Community College)


SUBS | Ronan MANSFIELD (Blackwater Community School, Lismore) for Grogan (88), Dara KAVANAGH (De La Salle College, Waterford), for Folan (88), Rhys KELLY NOONAN (Coláiste Muire, Crosshaven) for Russell Vargas (90+2), Mark O’HALLORAN (Clarin College, Athenry), James LUKAU (Merlin College, Galway)


MANAGEMENT | John McSHANE, Head Coach (Loreto Secondary School, Bray), Derek O’BRIEN, Coach (Ardscoil na Mara, Tramore) Ollie HORGAN, Coach (St. Eunan’s College, Letterkenny), Martin CAVANAGH, Equipment Manager (Carndonagh Community School), Michael McGLYNN (Physio), Dr. Aidan O’COLMAIN (Team Doctor)


NORTHERN IRELAND SCHOOLS | Ryan Kerr, Callan Farley, Ben Walker, Logan Wallace ©, Oisin Devlin, Corey Smith, Caolan Donnelly, Michael Morgan, Luca Doherty, Sean Brown, Jack Hastings


SUBS | Ben McGonigle for Donnelly (HT), Jake Martin for Hastings (53), Odhran McCart for Morgan (71), Adhamh Towe for Doherty (71), Rian Brown, Kyle McCloskey, Oscar McKenna


MANAGEMENT | Simon Nicks, Richard Clarke, Neil McGaughey, Eamon Curry, Zara Pinkerton


MATCH OFFICIAL | Aaron Rainey (Northern Ireland)


2023 SAFIB hummel Centenary Shield Results & Fixtures



Thursday, February 23    Scotland 0-0 Republic of Ireland                 Renfrew FC

Thursday, March 2           Northern Ireland 1-1 Scotland                        Blanchflower Park

Thursday, March 9          Republic of Ireland 3-4 Wales                         Ferrycarrig Park, Wexford

Thursday, March 23         Wales 3-1 Northern Ireland                             Britton Ferry FC

Friday, March 24              Republic of Ireland 1-3 England                     Athlone Town AFC

Thursday, March 30        Northern Ireland 1-2 Republic of Ireland   Blanchflower Park



Friday, March 31               Scotland vs England                                         Broadwood Stadium

Thursday, April 13            Wales vs Scotland                                             Colwyn Bay FC

Friday, April 14                  England vs Northern Ireland                         Billericay Town FC

Friday, April 28                  England vs Wales                                             Hednesford Town FC

All games kick off at 7pm