Sligo’s Eli Rooney and Leitrim’s Niall Holohan score for Ireland schools team in win over Northern Ireland

The Sligo Rovers trio who played for the Republic of Ireland Schools team; Daniel Kelly, Niall Holohan and Eli Rooney. Pic: Sligo Rovers Academy.

Sligo Champion

Summerhill College’s Eli Rooney and Carrick-on-Shannon Community School’s Niall Holohan scored for the Republic of Ireland Schools team in a hard earned win over Northern Ireland in the 2023 SAFIB Hummel Centenary Shield in Belfast, ending their season on a positive note.

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 went to the Republic of Ireland at Blanchflower Park.

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.

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.

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 of Sligo Rovers 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.


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