Celtic midfielder Matt O’Riley will keep focusing on his daily routines for self-improvement rather than be derailed by thoughts of Euro 2024 after making his Denmark debut in midweek.

The 23-year-old won his first cap in Monday’s 2-0 defeat against Northern Ireland at Windsor Park.

Kasper Hjulmand’s side had already won their group before the Belfast trip and O’Riley will keep trying to impress for Celtic with his international hopes firmly in the back of his mind.

“The first cap is obviously a good moment, albeit it wasn’t our best performance, but at the same time you are still playing for your country,” he said.

“It was a proud moment for me and my family also. My family were there, my mum and dad, girlfriend and agent/friend.

“It’s obviously a new experience, new team-mates, new players, that’s always challenging because it’s a new environment, new people, so it takes a bit of time to adapt naturally but I found it relatively easy just because they are really nice people.

“The first few days you are a little bit nervous, just getting into it, but after that you are fine.

“It’s not something I gave too much thought to, you are still just playing football at the end of the day. If I am playing with good players and playing under a good manager, it shouldn’t really be a problem to play well.

“And yeah, of course I was disappointed with the result and I was hard on myself after the game because you naturally are when you lose but I received some nice feedback regardless.

“I am obviously in the mix now so it’s about trying to keep improving.”

On the prospect of playing in Germany next summer, the former MK Dons midfielder said: “It was always a target anyway. It’s something I try not to think about too much on a regular basis, it’s more a case of daily processes here, boring day-to-day stuff, that usually helps get you to where you want to get to.

“It’s four or five months to the next camp so there is a lot of football to be played for your club before then and a lot of things can happen in terms of performances, so I will try my best.

“That’s what got me there in the first place and I will try to keep improving as a player.

“I feel good, feel strong physically and mentally, which is progress. I feel like I have improved a lot this season on various aspects.”

One of those aspects is goalscoring – O’Riley has six goals to his name ahead of Saturday’s visit of Motherwell, more than his total from last term.

When asked what had contributed to his figures, the former Fulham trainee said: “A clearer mind first and foremost, I am more open when I am on the pitch.

“Secondly just getting into the right positions to score and then taking a little bit of pressure off myself, not expecting myself to score every game, just going into trying to do my best for the team and naturally you get your outcomes.

“You have to go through experiences. I had to go through the phase where I didn’t score for a long time to know maybe then how to take pressure off myself the next time.

“For me the big thing that has helped the most is just being in the best frame of mind. That’s something I give a lot of attention to on a daily basis.

“I meditate a lot, I speak regularly with my friend/life coach who lives in India. I work a lot with him in terms of speaking about things that were maybe kept inside me for a long time.

“I might not have had the knowledge to understand how to speak about it.

“That has helped me loads, I feel more confident and open to speak to people in general.”

Michael O’Neill has told Shea Charles he must learn from his dismissal after Northern Ireland suffered yet another 1-0 defeat in Euro 2024 qualifying, this time at home to Slovenia.

The 19-year-old Charles has been one of the bright spots for Northern Ireland in a hugely frustrating qualifying campaign, among the young players who have grabbed the chance to establish themselves in the side amid an injury nightmare.

But his international copybook got its first blemish as he collected two yellow cards to be sent off just before the hour mark at Windsor Park, meaning his run of starting every game so far in this campaign will end when Northern Ireland head to Finland next month.

The Southampton midfielder was booked for dissent just a few minutes into the match, protesting against the dubious decision to award Slovenia the free-kick from which Adam Cerin won the game, and then saw red when he caught Andraz Sporar late in the 58th minute.

Northern Ireland had been frustrated by several decisions from referee Istvan Kovacs on the night but O’Neill said that was something they had to be able to handle.

“This is a learning curve for young players,” he said. “(Slovenia) are a much more experienced international team than we are. You can see that in the way they managed the situation and played the referee a little bit.

“The emotion in the stadium obviously transferred to the players a little bit, everyone gets a bit frustrated with some of the decisions…If you’re booked for dissent, that’s poor. You put yourself under pressure so we have to learn from that.”

“We’ve probably seen a little combination of inexperience in a number of players and also just the nature of the emotion in the game when you’re chasing the game against a team that are a little bit more experienced and that can spill over a little bit.

“But I think that on the night we were pretty disappointed with the performance of the referee.”

This was Northern Ireland’s fifth 1-0 defeat of a campaign in which they have faced endless injury problems, with O’Neill forced to use two more fresh faces – Eoin Toal and Brad Lyons – on the night to take the number who have played in the eight qualifiers so far to 31.

O’Neill could rightly argue that this performance was a step forward from last month’s 4-2 defeat to Slovenia in Ljubljana considering the way a makeshift defence was able to stifle Benjamin Sesko – who went down easily to win the decisive free-kick off Jamal Lewis – and Sporar.

But ultimately it was another defeat, a sixth out of eight with only two wins over minnows San Marino to break up the run.

“I think there is always frustration when you lose the game – and a little bit of disappointment as well,” he said.

“I think the players deserved more out of it than what they got. We have had a frustrating campaign, a very challenging campaign and tonight’s game was probably a reflection of that once again.”

Captain Jonny Evans ended the night limping heavily after taking a late blow to his foot, having already been down in the first half to receive treatment.

“He’s obviously hobbling a little bit in there,” O’Neill said of the Manchester United defender. “I think the same foot was stamped on three times so he’s limping pretty badly but I think he’ll be fine.

“It will be one of those where when he wakes up in the morning he’ll be pretty sore but there’s no real damage as far as I know.”

Ten-man Northern Ireland returned to the all-too-familiar feeling of defeat as Adam Cerin’s early free-kick put Group H leaders Slovenia on the verge of qualifying for Euro 2024 with a scrappy 1-0 win at Windsor Park.

Saturday’s 3-0 victory over minnows San Marino ended Northern Ireland’s five-game losing streak but it proved only a temporary reprieve in an injury-ravaged qualifying campaign which has now seen Michael O’Neill’s side suffer five 1-0 defeats in eight games.

The defining moment of the match came early on. While there was no doubt about the quality of Adam Cerin’s fifth-minute free-kick, Northern Ireland were fuming at referee Istvan Kovacs’ decision to award it after Jamal Lewis barely clipped Benjamin Sesko on the edge of the box.

Shea Charles was booked for dissent and that proved costly just before the hour mark when the Southampton midfielder went in late on Andraz Sporar and was sent off, the first blemish on the 19-year-old’s impressive start in international football.

Charles has started every game of this campaign but will now miss November’s trip to Finland, another headache for O’Neill, who was forced into further changes here with Dan Ballard out with a thigh problem and Paddy McNair suspended following his late yellow card on Saturday.

The manager responded with bold choices, handing debuts to Bolton defender Eoin Toal and Kilmarnock midfielder Brad Lyons, the 30th and 31st players to be used in eight qualifiers so far, despite more experienced options on the bench.

The atmosphere inside a below-capacity Windsor Park was already flat at the start with but it fell silent after Cerin’s goal, the fans not even having the energy to resume the anti-Casement Park chanting heard before kick-off. As the night wore on, a sense of injustice would rouse the fans.

Northern Ireland responded quickly when Slovenia scored early in Ljubljana last month, a 4-2 defeat, but struggled to threaten here. Paul Smyth, the star of the show on Saturday, found little joy on the right. On the left Lewis had more joy in finding space but lacked the quality of cross required.

Although limited going forward, Northern Ireland were at least ensuring Slovenia’s powerful strike force had few sights of Bailey Peacock-Farrell’s goal.

After one rare attack, Slovenia appeared to have been gifted a second just after the half hour. Trai Hume’s poor headed clearance went straight to Jan Mlakar and Toal got it all wrong trying to cut out his low cross, allowing Sesko to thump home from close range.

However, the visitors’ celebrations were cut short after the referee checked the replay, deeming Sporar to be interfering from an offside position.

O’Neill sent on Washington for Josh Magennis at the break and was planning further changes a little over 10 minutes in before Charles saw red, forcing a rethink.

Conor McMenamin, amongst the goals on Saturday, had been due to come on but instead it was George Saville, Dion Charles and Isaac Price who entered the fray in a triple change.

The substitutes combined for Northern Ireland’s best move in the 69th minute as Price drove down the right, exchanged passes with Washington and then pulled the ball back for Saville but the midfielder, yet to score for Northern Ireland after 49 appearances, did not get enough power on his shot.

There was a let-off in the 72nd minute when Mlakar found space in front of goal but got the contact on his shot all wrong, while at the other end Dion Charles blazed harmlessly wide.

Northern Ireland still pushed forward but another flowing move ended with Saville shooting straight at Oblak and other attacks were thwarted by the over-officious Kovacs.

Captain Jonny Evans, who had treatment on an ankle injury in the first half, ended the game limping heavily after another strong impact when challenging for a corner.

Paul Smyth marked his first start for Northern Ireland with a goal and an assist as they saw off San Marino 3-0, but although Michael O’Neill’s side ended a five-game losing streak it was a largely drab affair at Windsor Park.

QPR striker Smyth, earning a sixth cap, got his first competitive goal for his country just five minutes in and then teed up Josh Magennis to get the second moments later, but it took until the 81st minute for Northern Ireland to get a third as substitute Conor McMenamin got his maiden strike.

Victory over a side ranked 207th and last in the world will do nothing to solve the bigger problems that have plagued Northern Ireland throughout a miserable Euro 2024 qualifying campaign and beyond, but it does at least change the narrative as they recorded a first home win in over a year.

Looking to mix things up, O’Neill brought a number of fresh faces into his starting line-up, with Conor Hazard making his first competitive appearance in goal and first starts for Smyth and Dale Taylor.

Almost immediately the two forwards combined as Taylor met Smyth’s low cross at the near post, but he was unable to keep his shot down from a difficult angle.

No matter, because two minutes later Smyth scored, arriving on cue to volley in Jamal Lewis’ dinked cross from the left.

And only six minutes later, Magennis doubled the advantage as Smyth turned provider, driving a low cross in from the right which Magennis turned in at the near post – his first goal since the winner against Kosovo in September 2022, Northern Ireland’s last Windsor Park victory before this.

Any fears that San Marino might upset a struggling Northern Ireland side dissipated and they continued to drive forward against their part-time opponents, with Daniel Ballard heading narrowly wide and Trai Hume sending a shot over from distance after being encouraged to try his luck by the crowd.

Smyth thought he had a second in the 31st minute when Jonny Evans sent forward a long ball and he arrived to lift it over the goalkeeper with another volleyed finish, but it was ruled out for offside after a lengthy VAR check.

But despite the scoreline the atmosphere inside Windsor Park felt flat, to the extent that at one point in the first half chanting was even played on the PA system, and it was not helped when a torrential downpour before half-time sent those in the family stand scrambling for cover.

The 19-year-old Taylor had chances to emulate Smyth’s achievement on his first start after the break, but headed over from Paddy McNair’s free-kick and then squandered a better opportunity just before the hour, poking a shot wide after being played in by Magennis.

O’Neill then brought on another exciting teenager in West Ham striker Callum Marshall, one of three changes as Conor Washington and Isaac Price also came on with Smyth, Magennis and Evans departing and Ballard taking the captain’s armband.

Washington was fortunate to avoid an almost immediate red card when he connected heavily with the ankle of Lorenzo Lazzari, but referee Bram Van Driessche decided a yellow card was sufficient after being advised to check the replay.

San Marino goalkeeper Elia Benedettini made a double save to deny Price and then Marshall but Northern Ireland were struggling to carve out clear chances as the visitors defended deep.

But McMenamin came on along with Brodie Spencer with a little over 10 minutes left, and the St Mirren winger was on the scoresheet moments later.

Benedettini got a hand to a powerful strike from Washington, but could only push it into the centre of goal, where McMenamin was waiting to wrap up the win for Northern Ireland.

Ravichandran Ashwin starred to help India complete a dominant innings and 141-run win over the West Indies inside three days at Windsor Park in Dominica on Friday.

The day started with the tourists adding 109 runs to their overnight 312-2 before declaring on 421-5 off 152-2 overs, a lead of 271 runs.

Yashasvi Jaiswal, who entered day three on 143, was eventually dismissed for 171 off 387 balls while Virat Kohli carried on from his overnight 36 to make 76 off 182 balls. Ravindra Jadeja finished not out on 37.

Ravichandran Ashwin then ripped through the West Indies line-up on the way to 7-71 off 21.3 overs to end up with match figures of 12-131. Ashwin’s second innings figures were his best in his career outside of India.

Jadeja also chipped in with two wickets as the West Indies batted just 50.3 overs, eventually being dismissed for 130.

Alick Athanaze made 28 while Jason Holder was left stranded on 20 for the West Indies.

The second Test bowls off on July 20 in Trinidad.

Yashasvi Jaiswal and Captain, Rohit Sharma, both hit centuries to put touring India in a dominant position after day two of the first Test against the West Indies at Windsor Park in Dominica on Thursday.

Jaiswal and Sharma began day two 80-0 and the pair went on to put on a partnership of 229, the highest for India against the West Indies.

In the process, Jaiswal, 21, became the 17th Indian batsman to score a century on Test debut while Sharma hit his 10th Test hundred and third against the West Indies.

Sharma was the first of two wickets to fall on another tough day for the West Indian bowlers. He became Alick Athanaze’s first Test wicket, going caught by wicketkeeper, Joshua Da Silva, for a well-compiled 103 off 221 balls including 10 fours and two sixes.

Shubman Gill was the other to go, caught by Athanaze off the bowling of Jomel Warrican for just six.

Jaiswal stood firm, ending the day on 143* off 350 balls. His knock has, so far, produced 14 fours.

Former Captain, Virat Kohli, was Jaiswal’s partner at stumps as India ended the day 312-2 off 113 overs, holding a commanding 162-run lead. Kohli was not out on 36 off 96 balls at the close.


Cricket West Indies’ (CWI) Selection Panel on Tuesday announced the West Indies Men’s squad for the upcoming three-match T20 International Series and the three-match CG United One-Day International Series against Bangladesh.

Rovman Powell has been announced as the new Vice Captain for the T20Is while left-arm fast bowler Obed McCoy returns after recovering from injuries. There are also recalls for experienced wicket-keeper batter Devon Thomas and allrounder Keemo Paul. In the CG United ODI Series squad, there is a call up for left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie.

“We know Rovman’s history. He has captained the West Indies before and is also the captain of his CPL franchise. Our role is to look at future leaders as well and we have identified a few, including himself, who we will be putting programmes around to ensure we keep them involved in that aspect of the cricket,” said lead selector Dr the Hon. Desmond Haynes.

“Thomas is a very versatile cricketer, who has been knocking on the door in all formats. He has been doing well in franchise cricket and with that level of talent, we must ensure we keep him interested. He brings a lot to the table and is basically a four-dimensional player, he can bat, bowl, he is brilliant in the field, and he can keep wicket as well. McCoy has done exceptionally well in the IPL and enjoyed a successful stint in England as well, so we are confident that he is back to his best in terms of playing and fitness. Generally, we have to start looking at the bigger picture of getting these players playing together as often as possible in preparation for the ICC T20 World Cup later down in the year. We need to ensure we are fielding a very strong side for that tournament,” Haynes added.

The T20I Series opens with back-to-back matches on Saturday, 2 July and Sunday, 3 July at the Windsor Park in Dominica. This will see a return to international cricket at the fully refurbished venue, where international cricket is being hosted for the first time since the hurricane damage of 2017. The Series climaxes with the third and final match on Tuesday, 7 July at the Guyana National Stadium. The CG United ODI Series will be played at the Guyana National Stadium on Friday, 10 July, Monday 13 July and Thursday, 16 July.

Online ticket sales are now live via the new WINDIES TICKETS service, presented by Mastercard, at www.tickets.windiestickets.com. Fans can purchase in advance without the need to travel to box offices to save tickets to their mobile phones which can then be presented for scanning at the stadium entrance. Fans who register for the WINDIES TICKETS service and purchase tickets will also receive offers and promotions for future games.

In Dominica, there is great excitement on the Nature Isle for the return of international cricket with tickets available in three price categories providing a range of viewing positions for every budget. Ticket prices range from US$6 (EC$15) for the Mound/Grounds, to US$15 (EC$40) for the standard seats and US$25 (EC$70) premium seating in the Shillingford Stand.

In Guyana, the prices will range from US$6 (GUY$1200) for the Mound/Grounds, to US$15 (GUY$3000) for the Orange Stand or US$25 (GUY$5000) for the best seats in the Red and Green Stands, as the fans in Guyana welcome the busiest “Summer of Cricket” to the South American mainland. 

Fans can watch live on ESPN Caribbean and listen to live radio commentary on the Windies Cricket YouTube channel.



T20 Internationals

Nicholas Pooran (Captain)

Rovman Powell (Vice Captain)

Shamarh Brooks

Akeal Hosein

Alzarri Joseph

Brandon King

Kyle Mayers 

Obed McCoy

Keemo Paul

Romario Shepherd

Odean Smith

Devon Thomas

Hayden Walsh Jr.

Reserve: Dominic Drakes


One-Day Internationals

Nicholas Pooran (Captain)

Shai Hope (Vice Captain)

Shamarh Brooks

Kaecy Carty

Akeal Hosein

Alzarri Joseph

Brandon King

Kyle Mayers

Gudakesh Motie

Keemo Paul

Anderson Phillip

Rovman Powell

Jayden Seales

Reserve: Romario Shepherd



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