Northern Ireland 3-0 Belarus

Conor Washington is congratulated by fellow goalscorer Kyle Lafferty at Windsor Park

Strikers Kyle Lafferty, Conor Washington and Will Grigg scored as Northern Ireland saw off Belarus in their last home match before Euro 2016.

Lafferty, lacking game time at club level, got his 17th international goal by finding the net from close-range in the fifth minute.

QPR's Washington pounced on a mistake by keeper Andrei Harbunov to head home the second just before half-time.

Substitute Will Grigg rifled a late third to cap the convincing win.

Northern Ireland have now gone a record 11 matches unbeaten.

Michael O'Neill's men have a final warm-up game away to Slovakia on 4 June before heading to France for a first-ever appearance at the European Championship finals.

O'Neill was keen to keep momentum going by avoiding defeat at Windsor Park.

He will also be relieved that his players appear to have come through this game without any injury problems.

NI's final 23

Places in O'Neill's Euro 2016 were not up for grabs in this match as the manager made no secret of who the 23 will be when officially announced on Saturday.

Barring accidents, the 22 on duty tonight will be joined by Shane Ferguson after his involvement in Millwall's League One play-off final against Barnsley on Sunday.

The unlucky ones in the original 28-man panel are Liam Boyce, Billy McKay, Daniel Lafferty, Ben Reeves and Michael Smith and they were given the day off from training on Thursday.

O'Neill and players take fans' acclaim

After the match, the Northern Ireland players and manager O'Neill came back on to the pitch to loud cheers from the fans who had been asked to stay on to give their heroes a fitting send-off.

Taking the microphone, O'Neill said: "It is easy to support a team when they're doing well, but the true supporters stick by you when things are not going so good and you have always stood by us.

"This team is determined to make you proud. We will do everything in our power to make it a memorable summer for you."

Man of the match - Paddy McNair

Manchester United's Paddy McNair produced a composed performance

The versatile 21-year-old Manchester United defender may not be in Michael O'Neill's first 11, but did his prospects the power of good with an impressive and assured performance.

What they said

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill: "It was a great performance and a great result. We were able to play about with things a bit and it was a perfect night for us.

"I want players to show some flexibility and be able to change and that's what they showed tonight.

"Paddy McNair was outstanding throughout, while Conor has scored two in three games to make a big statement. It was great to see Will (Grigg) get on the scoresheet too.

"Unfortunately I've had to whittle the squad down to 23 and I've informed the five players who will not be going with us. They have all made a big contribution already and hopefully all of them still have a big international future ahead of them."

What's next?

Having been a given a rousing send-off by a delighted Belfast support, Northern Ireland will play their final warm-up match away to Slovakia on Saturday, 4 June.

Then it is on to their Euro 2016 base near Lyon to prepare for the opening Group C fixture which is against Poland in Nice on 12 June.


Northern Ireland

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