Glenavon midfielder Mark Sykes scored the winner at Windsor Park as Northern Ireland Under-21 defeated their Slovakian counterparts to finish second in the UEFA Under-21 Qualification group.

Despite the heroics of the Danske Bank Premiership star, Ian Barraclough’s side narrowly missed out on a play-off place for next year’s finals. Sykes rose to head home the only goal of the game, converting Jamie McDonagh’s cross on 62 minutes.

Former Dungannon Swifts midfielder Liam Donnelly (now with Motherwell) captained the side in his last Under-21 international, cementing his place as the record cap holder at Under-21 level with 24 appearances. Former NI Football League alumni included Bobby Burns (ex-Glenavon, now on loan at Livingston) and Paul Smyth (ex-Linfield, now at Queens Park Rangers).

It’s back to Danske Bank Premiership action this weekend for Mark Sykes, as his Glenavon team travel to The Oval to face Glentoran on Saturday (kick-off: 3pm)

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