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Belfast Live
Gareth Fullerton

Manchester United captain Dan Gore soaks up celebrations after SuperCupNI win

Dan Gore believes Manchester United's Under 18 squad showcased their true quality with Wednesday night's win over Northern Ireland.

The young Red Devils lit up the Ballymena Showgrounds to lift the SuperCupNI Elite Challenge trophy in front of a bumper crowd.

A 3-1 victory on the night capped off a 6-3 aggregate success for Travis Binnion's teenagers against Gerard Lyttle's international side.

Read more: Northern Ireland vs Man Utd as it happened at the SuperCupNI

Captain Gore starred on the night, with Sam Mather bagging a brace and Manni Norkett adding a third in the second half, although Rio Morgan's reply for Northern Ireland was probably the pick of the goals.

"I think after Monday night's first leg we had a point to prove, and play the way we know we can play," Gore said.

Manchester United score to make it 1-0 through Sam Mather's free-kick (Jonathan Porter/PressEye)

"We started too slow on Monday in the first game and we wanted to make sure we didn't repeat that.

"We had chances and managed to take a couple. We were ruthless and managed to keep the game as comfortable as we could.

"We have really enjoyed the whole week. Northern Ireland were tough opposition, and to play two games in the space of three days was difficult.

"But I think the boys have done excellent and we have shown how good a team we are."

Gore hailed the fans who turned out in their numbers to watch Manchester United's future generation.

"The fans here have been brilliant. It is unreal to see how many fans come out and support us, even as an Under 18 team," he added.

"All the young lads here would love to become first-team players one day.

"Hopefully as many of these players can go on and achieve that. All we can do is keep our heads down and take it step by step."

United were rewarded for a fast start when they took the lead in the sixth minute, Mather arrowing a superb curling free-kick from 20 yards into the corner of the net.

It was 2-0 four minutes later, this time it was a defensive lapse that gift-wrapped United's goal.

Northern Ireland keeper Kai McClean failed to deal with a raking pass down the middle from Gore, and the ball bounced through for Mather to tap into the empty net.

United had chances to extend their lead in the first half - Norkett fired just wide and then Gore rattled the base of the post following a surging run from midfield.

The dominance prompted Gerard Lyttle to make three changes before the break, with Conor Scannell, Leon Boyd and Aaron Wightman all being introduced to the action.

If Northern Ireland needed a spark, they got one in the 59th minute.

It came from another substitute Morgan, the Ipswich Town midfielder racing from midfield before unleashing an unstoppable drive that nestled in the corner of the net.

Any hopes of a comeback were dashed nine minutes later when United scored their third, a through ball finding Norkett who coolly swept his shot past the advancing McClean.

Northern Ireland boss Lyttle said: "The reality is this is a top class team we were playing against. They are FA Youth Cup champions and you can see why.

"They are a year older than our boys and have probably been training together for five or six years.

"We will take an awful lot from these two games. We will learn from it and improve. It shows where we are in terms of development and we take nothing but positives from this week."


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