INTERVIEW: Byrne Ready For Centenary Shield Derby Against Scotland

  • Thu, Apr 06, 2017 @ 12:36

St Patrick's Athletic U19 attacker Neill Byrne is getting ready for wear the Ireland green again tonight.

The Irish International Schools team are in Scotland for their third group game which kicks off at 7pm.

The boys in green won their opening two games against Wales and Northern Ireland, meaning a win here could set up a winner take all game against the old enemy England!

Byrne spoke to StPatsFC.Com before linking up with the squad on Wednesday.

"Winning the first two games has given us a great chance to go on and win the tournament which would be a great achievement, so we need to apply ourselves properly for the Scotland game and give ourselves the best chance of winning it in the final game against England."

The team met up in Dublin on Wednesday before flying to Scotland for the game.

Neill explained how the international school experience works.

"I really enjoy the experience of living as a pro for the couple of days and it certainly gives you the incentive to work harder and hopefully achieve something in football in the future. We have everything provided for us in terms of kit, the right food, hotels, flights, team meetings etc so it's a good insight into what being a pro footballer could be like."

So what does he expect from Scotland?

"I think the Scottish game will be similar enough to the Northern Ireland game where both teams will be up for it and the intensity will be quite high, the game is on an astro which we have been training and playing on so it's not too much of a change for us, all of these Centenary Shield games are derby matches and they are great to play in."

A positive start to the game could be key to victory according to the 18 year old.

"I think we need to start a bit quicker than we have in the last two games where I feel we've been slow to get into games, leaving it late in both games to win it, so if we start fast I feel we have a great chance of winning the game."

A win for Ireland could set up a winner take all battle against England, it's not something on Byrne's mind just yet.

"A winner takes all game would be unbelievable especially as it would be on Irish soil, but we have to focus on the Scotland game first and then prepare for the England game afterwards."

Neill's focus will then be back on club duty, with Athlone Town visiting on Sunday in the SSE Airtricity League U19 Northern Elite Division.

The Saints began their season with a 4-2 win over Derry, Neill got a goal and an assist.

They lost 1-0 to Shels last time out and getting back to winning ways is on the minds of all of the players.

"We started the season really well against a very good Derry team, winning 4-2. I felt we should have at least got something from the Shels game but they were very well set up and took their chance well. We need to bounce back on Sunday and hopefully get back to winning ways."

"Winning against Athlone will really boost the morale of the squad and will get us back into the right mindset for trying to complete the double. Athlone will be a tough team, so we have to apply ourselves properly as there are no easy games in the 19s league."

Scotland against Ireland kicks off on Thursday at 7pm.

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