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Northern stars

There was Cliftonville representation in all three of Northern Ireland Women’s fixtures at the Pinatar Cup over the past week.

Both Marissa Callaghan and Toni Leigh Finnegan were part of the squad that contested the four-team tournament in Murcia, Spain, which saw Scotland emerge as the eventual winners.

Skipper Callaghan started the narrow 1-0 loss to Iceland last Wednesday and was also in the line-up for Saturday’s 4-0 defeat by Ukraine, which was notable for 17-year-old Finnegan making her senior international debut.

The Reds duo each emerged from the bench in Tuesday’s 2-1 reverse against the Scots, which was enough to earn Shelley Kerr’s side the trophy.

Northern Ireland’s Under 19s were, meanwhile, in action at the Alanya Gold Cup in Turkey, where Cliftonville’s Fi Morgan and Shona Davis were part of the panel that suffered losses to the senior teams of Kenya, Ghana and Chile.

The Under 17s – including Solitude pair Rachel Norney and Erin Montgomery – were likewise competing up an age level but almost got their Mediterranean Pearls campaign off to a great start when Montgomery found the net with an equaliser in their opening game against Belarus, only for the eastern Europeans to register a late winner.

Montgomery also played a key role in the subsequent clash with Slovakia when her shot forced the keeper into an error that led to Northern Ireland scoring from the penalty spot in Saturday morning’s 2-2 draw.

Completing a busy week of international action, yesterday saw Cliftonville trio Odhrán Casey, Peter McKiernan and Dylan Snoddon back on familiar ground when Solitude hosted Northern Ireland Schoolboys’ 1-0 victory over Wales in the Centenary Shield.