FOOTBALL: Six East Antrim men in NI squad for Belarus friendly

Northern Ireland defender Michael Smith.  Photo: Pacemaker Press

Northern Ireland defender Michael Smith. Photo: Pacemaker Press

East Antrim boasts a strong six-man contingent in the Northern squad to face Belarus later this month.

Monkstown’s Michael Smith is among the 28-man panel along with Larne man Gareth McAuley, the Evans brothers, Jonny and Corry, Craig Cathcart and Paddy McNair.

Manager Michael O’Neill will name his squad for Euro 2016 the day after the Belarus friendly (May 28). Seven days later it’s off to the City Arena Stadium in Trnava to take on Slovakia in the last game before their first-ever European Championships.

Peterborough United defender Smith, who made his international debut against Slovenia in March, is one of several players vying to impress the boss and book a seat on the plane to France.

McAuley, the Evans brothers, McNair and Cathcart are all expected to be in the squad for the finals.

Northern Ireland squad for Belarus: A Mannus (St Johnstone), M McGovern (Hamilton Academical), R Carroll (Notts County); C Cathcart (Watford), J Evans (West Bromwich Albion), G McAuley (West Bromwich Albion), L McCullough (Doncaster Rovers), C McLaughlin (Fleetwood Town), A Hughes (Melbourne City), D Lafferty (Burnley), S Davis (Southampton), O Norwood, (Reading), C Evans, (Blackburn Rovers), J Ward, (Nottingham Forest), S Dallas (Leeds United), N McGinn (Aberdeen), P McNair (Manchester United), W Grigg (Wigan Athletic), K Lafferty (Norwich City), C Washington (Queens Park Rangers), B McKay (Dundee Utd), L Boyce (Ross County), M Smith (Peterborough United), L Hodson (MK Dons), S Ferguson (Millwall), C Baird (Derby County), J Magennis (Kilmarnock), B Reeves (MK Dons).

Jonny Evans

Jonny Evans

Gareth McAuley

Gareth McAuley

Craig Cathcart

Craig Cathcart

Paddy McNair

Paddy McNair

Corry Evans

Corry Evans