Ben Kennedy, Dale Gorman and Ryan Johnson all returned to Stevenage on Wednesday afternoon after a busy week away with the Northern Ireland U21s.
Friday’s dramatic win against Albania got the camp off to a fantastic start, as the 95th minute winner made it two wins out of two in their UEFA European Championship qualifying group.
Next up for Ian Barraclough’s boys was a difficult away trip to Slovakia on Tuesday night which despite an admirable effort, the hosts came away 1-0 winners.
The defeat means Northern Ireland and just behind group leaders Slovakia on goal difference, a tremendous position for the team to be in at this early stage.
All three players contributed heavily throughout the week with Johnson ever-present across both games, Gorman playing 150 minutes whilst Ben Kennedy featured for 120 minutes.
Upon his return to Hertfordshire, Dale Gorman looked back on the week.
“It has been a good week overall. Nobody expected us to do anything so for us to be on six points from three games is not bad at all.
“The first game was very tight in the first half and we knew that if we kept it at 0-0 we would eventually get a chance. We started to get the ball down and dictate play a bit more in the second half and thankfully our chance came right at the death.
“In last night’s game we were second best to be fair. They are a very good side and it was one of them where there was less pressure on us because of the six points we picked up from our first two games.
“Themselves and Spain are the favourites and we are joint top of the group so we have got off to a good start but have some tough games coming up.
“We have Estonia next which will be crucial after beating them earlier in the campaign so we need to make sure we take points off them again.”
Now one of the more experienced players amongst the Northern Ireland U21s, Gorman says his time with the senior players at Stevenage FC has put him in good stead.
“It was sort of tough having to leave what is going on at Stevenage because we are doing so well but I suppose it actually came at a good time because of my suspension.
“It is good going away though, especially for me now as I am one of the older and more experienced players in the team.
“There are a lot of younger lads who are after a bit of guidance so it is nice to have that responsibility. Over the past few years I have obviously learned a lot from the lads at Stevenage so I have been able to take that in and pass it on.”
Next up for unbeaten Stevenage is the visit of Lincoln City this Saturday. Back the boys and save money on your tickets by purchasing in-advance.