09 Oct 2020
© PressEye Paul O'Neill in action for Northern Ireland U21s
Glentoran striker Paul O'Neill scored twice for Northern Ireland U21s in tonight's European Championship qualifier against Finland at the Ballymena Showgrounds.
Although Northern Ireland ended up losing by the odd goal in five, it was a night to remember for O'Neill on his first start for the Under-21s.
The 20-year-old opened the scoring for Andy Crosby's side after 23 minutes with a goal made in the Irish League. Portadown's Nathan Kerr delivered the low cross which O'Neill duly turned past the visiting keeper.
Then, just before the hour, O'Neill bagged his second of the evening after showing his instinct for goal by getting a leg to Daniel Amos' shot to turn the ball home inside the post.
Both O'Neill and Kerr played the full 90 minutes, as did Glentoran's Caolan Marron.
There were also debuts for Portadown's Lee Bonis and Larne striker Andy Scott. Bonis replaced JJ McKiernan at half-time, while Scott came on for Alfie McCalmont on 79 minutes. Bobby Burns, a sixth player from the Danske Bank Premiership, also took to the field when he replaced Amos just after the hour.
Meanwhile Ballymena United's Kofi Balmer, Aaron Donnelly (Cliftonville) and Linfield man Ross Larkin were amongst the unused substitutes while Shayne Lavery, also Linfield, dropped out of the squad through injury.