NORTHERN IRELAND: Mark Sykes proud as Under-21s set 'massive standards'

Mark Sykes scores against Slovakia
Mark Sykes scores against Slovakia

Mark Sykes bowed out of Under-21 action with a night to remember for Northern Ireland at the National Stadium.

The Glenavon midfielder scored the only goal of the game as Ian Baraclough's side saw off Slovakia and sealed second place in UEFA EURO U21 Qualifier Group 2.

They may have missed out on a Play-Off spot, but Sykes was rightfully delighted with the performance of the team throughout the campaIgn.

"It's unbelievable to be honest," he told the Irish FA website.

"Before the campaign started I don't think anyone would have gave us a chance to come second in the group with that amount of points (20) but we have.

"We didn't think we'd finish with those points but we've shocked people and won a lot of matches.

"It was a brilliant result tonight and we've set massive standards ending the group with 20 points.

"We are delighted and the boys will enjoy it now."

Sykes also had a special mention to the 5,462 fans who cheers on the boys on the night.

"It was unbelievable," he said.

"We heard in Iceland that there were about four or five thousand tickets sold but to actually see the turn out really gave us boys a lift.

"We'd like to thank the supporters for coming out tonight. We turned up for them and we hope we sent them home happy."