Sheffield United and Wednesday starlets help Northern Ireland complete first Euro mission

Sheffield United's Shea Gordon and Sheffield Wednesday's Josh Stachini
Sheffield United's Shea Gordon and Sheffield Wednesday's Josh Stachini
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Players from both Sheffield clubs combined to move Northern Ireland's under 19s in the next stage of European Championships qualifying.

United's Shea Gordon and Wednesday's Josh Stachini were in their country's squad for a mini tournament in Russia this week, taking on Norway, Slovakia and the host nation and registered a memorable success.

Northern Ireland began the series with a 2-1 victory over Norway, thanks to goals from Stevenage's Ben Kennedy and Newcastle United's Michael Newberry. Owls defender Stachini started the game and Blades midfielder Gordon came off the bench.

Both players were in the starting line-up for an impressive 1-1 draw with Russia - Kennedy again scoring for Northern Ireland,and assisted by Stanchini - which meant that the team, led by former international captain and Motherwell defender Stephen Craigan, needed just a draw to make it through to the next stage of qualifying.

With Stachini and Gordon again starting, Northern Ireland lost 2-0 to Slovakia in their final game, however with Russia and Norway fighting out a 1-1 draw, the Irish lads qualified in second place.

Northern Ireland now move into the Elite round of qualifying, where 27 teams, plus holders Spain who were given a first round bye, go into seven groups of four, with the teams finishing top joining host nation Germany in the finals next summer.

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