11/11/1952 Paris France 1-3 Charlie Tully
Norman Uprichard, Len Graham, Alf McMichael, Danny Blanchflower, Billy Dickson, Frank McCourt, Billy Bingham, Jimmy D’Arcy, Eddie McMorran, Bertie Peacock, Charlie Tully
This was the first time a team actually billed as “Northern Ireland” played an international match. It would be two years before FIFA officially requested that the name of the team be changed from simply Ireland.
Northern Ireland may have lost this return friendly match in Paris but it will be remembered for France’s two first half goals. The first was scored with 12 French players on the pitch while the second came from a pass via a player who was yards offside!
Northern Ireland had the first chances to score when a McCourt free-kick narrowly missed Cesar Ruminiski’s left-hand post. Eddie McMorran also had a chance on goal following good work from Bertie Peacock and Charlie Tully on the left.
On 26 minutes French player Thadée Cisowski was injured following a collision with Frank McCourt and was replaced by Jean Baratte. However, the French trainer instructed the injured Cisowski to renter the field but Baratte did not leave his position! On 30 minutes Baratte the extra man on the pitch appeared to handle the ball before crossing for Joseph Ujlaki to score past Norman Uprichard. The Northern Irish players surrounded the referee in protest who should have disallowed the goal because he did not signal for Cisowski to return to the pitch.
France scored their second through Raymond Kopa however, André Strappe who made the assist was so far offside that the Northern Irish defence stood still and looked at him expecting the referee to blow his whistle.
Regardless Northern Ireland grabbed a goal back on 40 minutes. A Danny Blanchflower free-kick found its way to Charlie Tully who subsequently tucked it away.
Northern Ireland sought an equaliser with Tully, McCourt and Blanchflower coming close but on the break France remained dangerous and could have scored another themselves with two decent saves from Uprichard via Kopa and Strappe shots.
The game was sealed when Kopa raced down a gap within the middle of the Northern Irish defence and struck a low shot past Uprichard and into the net.
11/11/1987 Belfast Turkey 1-0 Jimmy Quinn
Allen McKnight, Gary Fleming, Nigel Worthington, Mal Donaghy, Alan McDonald, John McClelland, Norman Whiteside, Kevin Wilson (Dave Campbell), Colin Clarke, Jimmy Quinn, Danny Wilson (Lee Doherty)
“Since then [1986 World Cup in Mexico] it had been a mere holding operation as personnel changed. For us it was a time for using tactics to prevent us from being turned over. That would have been disastrous for morale in the long process of rebuilding on limited playing resources.”