Northern Ireland B is a secondary football team run occasionally as support for the Northern Ireland national football team
. Primarily seen as a stepping-stone between the Under-21
and Full international teams, the matches are also used to give a run-out for fringe players and to honour Irish League
players who would not otherwise gain international recognition. Matches are rarely played by Northern Ireland at this level due to their limited player pool necessitating rapid elevation of young players to the 'Full' squad.
Matches have been played against other football associations' 'B' teams and against various national "selects".
The Northern Ireland 'B' team made its first appearance in 1957, playing against Rumania 'B' who were not deemed worthy of a 'Full' international (note: Romania was commonly referred to as Rumania in the English language up until the 1980s). The occasion of October 23, 1957 marked the first use of the Windsor Park
floodlights for an international fixture. A one sided match finished 6-0 with a hat-trick
from Derek Dougan
and further goals from Sammy McCrory
, Sammy Chapman
and Jackie Scott.
The match against Rumania was followed up with two matches against France B
in 1959 and 1960 before Under-23 international matches became de rigueur in the 1960s. The 'B' format re-emerged in the 1990s as national teams focussed on Under-21 rather than Under-23 matches and thus a "stepping stone" from Under-21 to 'Full' was... Read More