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Irish U-18s braced for battle with North

THE Ireland U-18 Schools international side go into Monday's St Patrick's Day clash with Northern Ireland looking to continue their positive start to the Centenary Shield.

Ollie Horgan's side kicked off their campaign in the best possible fashion with an emphatic 3-0 victory over hosts Wales in Wrexham on Thursday.

Scotland's late equaliser against the North at the same time in East Fife made the result even more significant ahead of the visit of the defending champions to The Showgrounds in Sligo on Monday (3pm KO).

A slender opening-day 1-0 loss to the North eventually cost Ireland the title last year as they followed up successive victories over Scotland and Wales with a point against England to finish joint second with the latter.

Victory on Monday would put Horgan's side well and truly in the driving seat this year ahead of the trip to Bristol to face England on March 28 and the final-day clash with Scotland at Tallaght Stadium on April 24.

The schoolboys in green got their campaign off to the best possible start on Thursday when Cork native Craig Donnellan opened the scoring just six minutes in.

The Coláiste Chríost Rí student's opener was followed by a second goal early in the second half from Athboy Community School's Jamie McGrath.


Captain Ryan Manning of Yeats College wrapped up the victory in the closing stages with the third goal.

Horgan said afterwards: "Northern Ireland are a very talented side. We will need to keep our composure to secure a win at home.

"They won last season by a solitary goal as we just couldn't convert our chances in front of goal.

"The lads will be boosted by the win and hopefully we can build on this."