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Northern Ireland win opening friendly

Northern Ireland 3 Faroe Islands 1

Northern Ireland senior women’s team kicked off a triple-header of friendly matches with a 3-1 win over Faroe Islands in Spain on Wednesday afternoon.

Goals from Sam Kelly, Sarah McFadden and a beautiful strike from Chloe McCarron were the attacking highlights of a dominant display.

It was Kenny Shiels' side's first game since back-to-back FIFA World Cup qualifying wins over North Macedonia late last year and the beginning of what promises to be a memorable 2022.

Shiels gave a start to Rangers star Megan Bell - her first for her country in almost two years - and used all twelve substitutes available to him.

The match at the Marbella Football Center got off to a flying start when Kelly put the girls in green and white in front when she guided her close range strike in off the post after six minutes. It was the Glentoran Women's midfielder's first goal in a Northern Ireland shirt at senior women's level.

That’s how it stayed until the 40th minute when McFadden - a one-time forward on the international stage - found the net when she applied a neat finish from Kirsty McGuinness' low cross to double the advantage.

On the stroke of half-time Chloe McCarron made it 3-0 with a sensational strike across goal and into the top corner from 25 yards.

The Faroes, who Northern Ireland defeated home and away in UEFA Women's Euro qualifying, crept back into the game midway through the second session benefiting from a mix-up which culminated in a Lauren Wade own goal.

Northern Ireland are back in action on Sunday when they face Switzerland at the same venue (kick off 11am).

Northern Ireland: Jackie Burns (sub Rebecca Flaherty 60mins), Abbie Magee (sub Laura Rafferty 45mins), Sarah McFadden (sub Rebecca Holloway 45mins), Demi Vance (sub Rebecca McKenna 45mins), Chloe McCarron (sub Kerry Beattie 60mins), Nadene Caldwell (sub Joely Andrews 60mins), Sam Kelly (sub Marissa Callaghan 33mins), Megan Bell (sub Danielle Maxwell 30mins (sub Lauren Wade 60mins)), Rachel Furness (sub Kelsie Burrows 45mins), Simone Magill (sub Caitlin McGuinness 60mins), Kirsty McGuinness (sub Emily Wilson 60mins).