Hosts England will kick start their title defence in a fortnight’s time when the Republic of Ireland travel to Luton Town to take on the three lions on Friday, March 16 (KO 7pm).
This will be William O’Connor’s second away fixture on the bounce and he’ll be hoping to start the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations early with a valuable win away from home in Kenilworth Stadium to make it two wins from two.
The visitors toppled the Welsh in The Rock two weeks ago to open the 2018 Centenary Shield schedule. A first half brace, the first courtesy of Coláiste Dún Iascaigh, Cahir scholar and Irish Captain Cian MURPHY came eight minutes in. This was cancelled out on the quarter hour mark by Welsh forward Alaric Jones. However the Irish lead was regained a few minutes later through last year’s star St. Declan’s Community College scholar Darryl WALSH. A solid second half performance from the Irish was enough to see off Marc Lloyd Williams’ crew in Cefn Druids AFC to ensure a top of the table appearance for the short term.
O’Connor will make one change to the Irish set up with Balbriggan pupil Lido Lofeta making way for Grennan College player Colm Whelan for this encounter.
The English will be relishing this game having demolished the Republic in Dublin twelve months previous with a comprehensive second half display to come from 2-0 down to win out 5-2. The victory ensured a share of the spoils with Northern Ireland last season and the English will be hoping to replicate such success again. Home advantage will prove important for England’s first game of the season and they will be bolstered by the return of forward Jack Butler (King Edward VI High School) who had an impressive campaign for them last year.
England’s preparations for the Centenary Shield have gone exceptional well. The crew travelled to Valencia for their warm weather training a fortnight ago. A full week of training with two friendly games in the mix proved very productive. England overcame Valencia and Levante 2-1 on both outings.
Confidence in the camp will be high heading into this game and it always proves a pulsating tie with the Irish. A number of the Republic of Ireland outfit will be looking to improve their record against their opponents as James CARROLL (St. Oliver’s Community College, Drogheda), Darryl WALSH (St. Declan’s Community College) who captained the Irish that evening, Ronan MANNING (formerly of Calasanctius College, Oranmore and currently of Yeats College) and Jack RYAN (Templeogue College) all featured that evening in a frustrating night for Paddy O’Reilly’s charges.
Following the England encounter, O’Connor’s side will be out again on March 29 in Monaghan United FC as they take on their Northern counterparts in their penultimate fixture. The Irish will then entertain Scotland in their final game of the season when they face the tartan army on April 12 in Home Farm FC, Whitehall. Both home games have a 2pm kick off.
England Schools have taken things up a notch by managing to secure live television coverage this season of their two home fixtures, thanks to their partners at 247 .TV and FreeSports
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND SELECT | Daniel Houghton & Kieran Farren (Carndonagh Community School), Adam O’Connor (St. Clare’s College, Ballyjamesduff), James Carroll (St. Oliver’s Community College, Drogheda), Luke McNicholas (Balla Secondary School), Darryl Walsh (St. Declan’s Community College), Ronan Manning & Adam Rooney (Yeats College, Galway), Liam Kerrigan (St. Attracta’s CS, Tubbercurry), Cian Lee (Boyne Community School), Peter Adigun (Riversdale Community College), Ali Regbha (Chanel College, Coolock), Jack Ryan (Templeogue College), Jake Walker (St. Kevin’s Community College, Clondalkin) Colm Whelan (Grennan College, Thomastown), Rory Doyle (St. Francis College, Rochestown), Cian Murphy (Coláiste Dun Iascaigh, Cahir), Adam Conway (De La Salle College, Waterford)
MANAGEMENT | Head Coach William O’Connor (Balbriggan Community College), Coach John McShane (Dublin Oak Academy, Bray), GK Coach Conor Foley (Athlone Community College), Performance Analyst Ollie Horgan (St. Eunan’s College, Letterkenny), Kit Manager Paul Masterson, Physio Mickey McGlynn Doctor Aiden O’Colmain
ENGLAND | Daniel Gould, Callum Coulter, Ethan Brookes, Adam Crowther, Fraser Colling, Alex Doyle, Sam McCallum, Cormac Pike, Noah Smerdon, Kyle O’Connor-Ajayi, Ryan Penny, Emmanuel Ogunrinde, Robert Deda, Cieran Jackson, Jack Butler, David Neligwa, Harvey Howell, King Baidoo
2018 Centenary Shield Results & Fixtures
February 15 Wales 1-2 Republic of Ireland The Rock, Cefn Druids FC (7pm)
March 9 Scotland vs Northern Ireland Greenock Morton FC (7pm)
March 15 Northern Ireland vs Wales Newry City AFC (3pm)
March 16 England vs Republic of Ireland Kenilworth Stadium, Luton Town FC (7pm)
March 23 England vs Scotland Bootham Crescent, York City FC (7pm)
March 29 Republic of Ireland vs Northern Ireland Monaghan United FC (2pm)
March 29 Wales vs England Cardiff Metropolitan University FC (7pm)
April 6 Northern Ireland vs England Belfast (7pm)
April 12 Republic of Ireland vs Scotland Home Farm FC (2pm)
April 19 Scotland vs Wales Queen of the South FC (7pm)