Release Date: 01/08/2012
THE Northern Ireland UEFA Regions Cup Squad continued their preparations last night with a pre-season friendly game against Danske Bank Premiership side Dungannon Swifts.
In adverse weather conditions, Harry McConkey’s men put up a brave fight against the top flight outfit.
The Swifts proved more than a test for the Northern Ireland squad who head out to play in Macedonia at the end of August.
Dungannon took the lead in the 30th minute through Ryan Harper who was fed through on goal with only the keeper to beat.
The striker didn’t miss his opportunity as he delicately chipped the ball over goalkeeper Johnny Parr to open the scoring.
It was a tense, but entertaining first half. The small crowd present enjoying the spectacle and looking forward to more of the same in the second half.
Half time score Dungannon Swifts 1-0 Regions Cup Squad
The match resumed in the 2nd half with the same tempo. Both sides appeared to be looking to impress.
It was Dungannon who scored the next goal, extending their lead in the 61st minute with a header from Emett Friars straight from a corner kick.
Friars then made it 3-0 in the 68th minute with a wonderful strike from outside the penalty area which nestled in the top right hand corner.
At this stage Dungannon appeared to be cruising. However, complacency stepped in which allowed David Wright to grab a conciliation goal in the 78th minute.
A neat through ball from Chris Hunter left Wright one on one with Dungannon goalkeeper.Wright calmly converted the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the Dungannon goal.
It was the County Tyrone team, however who had the last laugh as Neil Gawley made the final score line 4-1, 7 minutes from the full time whistle.
Half time score Dungannon Swifts 4-1 Regions Cup Squad
After the game Harry commented: "Despite the result, the game provided me with another opportunity to look at my squad and determine who is worthy of a place in the final 18 select team for Macedonia.
"Dungannon Swifts provided a stern test for my players, however I was pleased with individual performances and the lads did work very hard against a team which plays consistently at a higher level.
"I will analyse each individual performance in my thinking for the final select squad, along with our victory over Ballinamallard United last week.
"I am now looking forward to playing the Republic of Ireland on the 21st August which will be our last friendly game before we head off".
The Northern Ireland UEFA Regions Cup Squad head out to Macedonia at the of August and have North Wales, Hestrafors (Sweden) and hosts South East FYROM to compete with in their quest to reach the Intermediary round.
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