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Friday, 22 November, 2002, 16:23 GMT
McIlroy handed Italian job
Sammy McIlroy salutes the NI fans after the 0-0 draw against Ukraine back in October
McIlroy's team face Spain a week later in Belfast
Northern Ireland are to travel to Italy for a friendly on 4 June.

The match is being staged just a week before the Irish meet Spain in Belfast in a Euro 2004 qualifier.

It means manager Sammy McIlroy will have his squad together for around 10 days.

A venue for the Italy game has still be to be determined but proceeds from the match will go to the disaster fund following the recent earthquake in the southern region of Calabria.

The Irish are next in action on 12 February at Windsor Park when they have a friendly against Finland.


Italy remain one of the most attractive sides in the world
NI boss Sammy McIlroy

The following month they resume their European Championships 2004 qualifying campaign by travelling to Armenia, followed quickly by a home game against Greece.

The Irish have picked up one point from their opening two qualifying games, drawing with Ukraine after losing to Spain.

McIlroy said he was delighted with the news.

"Italy may have had a dip in form but they remain one of the most attractive sides in the world," said the Northern Ireland boss.

"It is great of them to invite us and it is for a good cause as the game will raise money for the disaster fund".

See also:

22 Nov 02 | N Ireland
22 Nov 02 | Republic of Ireland
15 Nov 02 | Northern Ireland
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