The Wales Schools Under-18 side gave a good account of them themselves at Airbus UK Broughton FC's Airfield ground by holding their counterparts from Northern Ireland to a 0-0 draw. The Centenary Shield clash was shown live on SKY Sports 2 but the occasion did not intimidate either side in the opening stages.
After weathering some early pressure from Northern Ireland Cai Jones was played through on goal for Wales only to see his low shot foiled by goalkeeper Ross Glendinning in the penalty area after 5 minutes. A couple of minutes later and John McGuigan saw his glancing header from a corner go wide for the away side.
On 10 minutes Wales goalkeeper Luke Martin was forced into a near-post save from Jude Winchester. Meanwhile Wales were well-marshalled at the back by Dan Gibbon and looked promising on the counter-attack helped by the powerful running of right-back Steffan Jones.
The game developed into an even contest with Wales captain Ryan Newman striking wide after around half an hour. Neither goalkeeper had much to do though Kristian Jenkins saw an attempt go high and wide for Wales on 36 minutes. The home side spurned another good opportunity when the ball was lofted invitingly across the 6-yard box but Adam Davies was unable to make the connection.
Just before half-time Steffan Jones burst forward from defence and fired narrowly wide of the goalkeeper's right-hand post. It was a good effort but the score remained 0-0 at the break.
After the interval Northern Ireland's Mark Carson struck a shot over the bar before Wales failed to make the most of a goalmouth scramble at the other end on 52 minutes. Another good opportunity for Wales presented Adam Davies with a sight at goal but he scuffed his shot. Dion Donohue then shot straight at Glendinning for Wales.
Around the hour mark both teams made changes with Airbus UK Broughton's Rhys Nash entering the action to give the home side a boost going forward. Shortly after that Steffan Jones hit a free-kick from just outside the area over the bar.
A good move from Northern Ireland saw substitute Neil Lowry put in a great cross for fellow sub' Caolan McAleer but he couldn't apply the finish. The away side then came closest to breaking the deadlock when taking advantage of a mistake by Wales defender Jake Parry. Lowry raced into the area forcing Luke Martin into a point-blank save before Martin had to be alert to stop the rebound.
More changes were made by both sides towards the closing stages but they were unable to fashion or create the goal that by now seemed likely to settle the game in their favour. With three minutes to go that chance nearly fellow to Rhys Nash as his diving header in the area from a corner whistled just wide of the far post.
Into stoppage-time both teams had one last chance to win the game. Northern Ireland had a shot blazed over the bar before Wales and Nash were unlucky not to make more of late pressure right at the end.
Overall 0-0 was a fair reflection of the game and a draw was a fair result for both sides. A little more composure in front of goal could have seen either team win it but both Associations could be proud of their team's efforts.
Wales - 1: Luke Martin 2: Steffan Jones 3: Jake Parry 4: Kristian Jenkins 5: Sam Roden 6: Dan Gibbon 7: Adam Davies 8: Gethin Maxwell 9: Cai Jones 10: Dion Donohue 11: Ryan Newman (c)
Subs - 12: Jamie McDaid 14: Rhys Nash 15: Troy Greening 16: Aaron Biddiscombe 17: Iwan Price 18: Josh Ryall 21: Michael Ley
Northern Ireland - 1: Ross Glendinning 2: Caoimhin Bonner 3: Mark Carson 6: Eamonn Hughes 9: John McGuigan 14: Martin Murray 15: Niall Quinn 17: Thomas Robinson 18: Conor Rosato 19: Jude Winchester 20: Josh Robinson (c)
Subs - 4: Cathair Friel 5: Aaron Harkin7: Neil Lowry 8: Caolan McAleer 10: Sam Boylan 12: Blane Scott 16: Calum Birney
By Rory Sheehan