National Teams

NI U17 Boys Defeat Ireland

As the run-up to this years’ UK School Games begins in earnest, the NI U17 Boys squad took the opportunity to play in this St Patrick’s Day international match as part of their match practice schedule.  With several players returning from last year’s squad, and with several experienced players integral members of successful Club sides, the squad took the road to Naas full of expectation.  By the time the boys took to court for the warm-up and National Anthems, the large set of Ireland supporters were in full voice and the boys new they were not going to have an easy match.  Newly appointed captain Ryan Caddell took his duties seriously and delivered an emotional and stirring team talk just before the first ball was served.

The first set went to NI 25:16, and despite being technically better than their opponents, the NI boys failed to get out of1st gear, allowing the Ireland team to build some momentum. They took this into the 2nd set, winning it 25:23, which sounded a warning to the NI boys that they would have to find a rhythm or face a much more difficult match than they had expected.  They began to gel a bit more in the 3rd set, taking it 25:22, and built on this to win the 4th set 25:16 and the match 3 sets to 1.  New setter Luke McAuley was impressive on his international debut and Stephen Irwin really stepped up to the plate after moving up from the “B” Squad last year.

Captain Ryan Caddell led the attack well and devastating serving from Richard Surgenor helped to put the opposition’s attack right off.  At the end of the match Head Coach Chris Grant said,  “It’s been a long day and I have learned a lot about us as individuals and as a team and know that we have a lot of work to get done before the UK School Games.  Yes, we did win the match, but although we were technically better than our opponents in every aspect, we need more time and matches to allow us to gel better as a team.”

NI U17 Squad:   
1 – Ryan Caddell (captain)
2 – Luke McAuley
3 – Adam Hunter
4 – Matt Scott
5 – Richard Surgenor
6 – Callum Currie
7 – Peter Stewart
8 – Graeme Currie
9 – Stephen Irwin
10- Stephen Johnston
11- Geoff Crooks
12- Ryan Bailey
13- Jack Clarke
14- Jordan watson

Ireland defeat NI Youth Boys B Squad.

With more than half of the current National U17 squad being selected just last September, this was to be an exciting day for 11 boys who played for their country for the first time.  An early morning start and long trip to Naas did nothing to dampen spirits and the boys started brightly after a long warm-up.  “B” team captain Callum Currie lead the team with passion, determination and pride, and all the boys followed his lead.  Young middle attackers Peter Stewart and Graeme Currie impressed so much they booked a place in the “A” squad for the full international match in the afternoon and new outside hitter Stephen Johnston was also impressive in service and attack.  A noisy home support did not seem to affect the inexperienced NI players, and despite losing 2:1 with set scores of 25:22, 25:23 and 14:16, Head Coach Chris Grant was happy with what his squad achieved.  He said, “This was a great opportunity to give some younger players their first taste of international competition and the atmosphere and venue were excellent.  Although I’m not too happy we lost the game, I did play a very young and inexperienced team whose players will develop over the next 2 years and become leading members of the squad.”

NI “B” Squad:

1 –  Callum Currie (captain)
2 –  Luke McAuley
3 –  Mark Brown
4 –  Ryan Bailey
5 –  Ryan Latimer
6 –  Peter Stewart
7 –  Graeme Currie
8 –  Geoff Crooks
9 –  Stephen Johnston
10- Stephen Irwin
11- Nathan Hayburn
12- Danny McCormick
13- Jack Clarke
14- Jordan Watson     

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