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Belfast Live
Belfast Live
Gareth Fullerton

Gerard Lyttle hails "pride and passion" of Northern Ireland Under 17s after Euro qualifying success

Northern Ireland Under 17 manager Gerard Lyttle hailed the "pride and passion" of his players after they secured their place in the elite qualifying round for U17 Euro 2023 in Hungary.

Lyttle’s young charges played three games in the first qualifying round in Malta last month, recording a win against the hosts, a defeat to second-placed Scotland and a draw against group winners Czech Republic.

Under the competition rules the top two teams in each group in the initial round automatically join top seeds Netherlands and Spain in the spring 2023 elite round along with the four third-placed teams with the best records against the top two in their section – and third-placed Northern Ireland fell into that category.

Read more: Irish Premiership LIVE goal and score updates from Saturday's games

It completes a double success for Lyttle who also guided Northern Ireland's Under 19 team to the elite stage of the U19 Euro 2023 qualifiers back in September.

“It is a wonderful achievement for everyone involved both on and off the pitch. It really is a whole team effort,” Lyttle told the IFA's website.

“They played with the pride and passion we demand from all Northern Ireland teams. For both the U17 and U19 teams to reach the elite qualifying round at the same time, which I believe is a first for the Irish FA, is fantastic."

The draws for the elite qualifying rounds of both competitions are due to be staged next month with the games scheduled to take place in March next year.


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