The Republic of Ireland schoolboys’ U-18 team manager Ollie Horgan takes his team to Brighton this evening knowing nothing less than a victory will suffice against England to win the Boys’ Centenary Shield.
The St Eunan’s College in Letterkenny teacher has seen his side pick up five points from their opening three games, thus making them the only unbeaten team in the competition thus far.
Ireland opened with a 1-0 victory over Northern Ireland in Limerick last month before drawing 1-1 with Scotland at Waterford’s RSC and 2-2 in Carmarthern against Wales, a match in which Ireland trailed by two goals to nil.
Wales currently lead the standings with seven points from four games, one in front of England and two ahead of Ireland. However, Wales, like Scotland on four points and Northern Ireland on three, have played all four of their matches.
Tonight’s fixture at the Falmer Stadium, Brighton & Hove Albion’s home ground, is the final match of the series.
There are no Donegal-based players in the Irish squad although Mickey McGlynn from Milford and Finn Harps is the physiotherapist. Horgan, a native of Salthill, also manages Fanad United.
A blend of maturity and experience in this Irish squad will ensure a highly entertaining game against the English. Away performances in this tie seem to reap the rewards as England struck a late winner at Tallaght Stadium in a five-goal thriller to overcome the Ireland 3-2 last season.
In 2010 Ireland travelled to Burton Albion where they overcame the English with a solitary goal courtesy of Athlone’s Robbie Benson to capture the Shield.