Pools' Liam Donnelly captains Northern Ireland kids

Liam Donnelly (left) with Curtis Fleming.

Liam Donnelly (left) with Curtis Fleming.

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Hartlepool United defender Liam Donnelly was handed the captain's armband for Northern Ireland's Under-21s in Ukraine.

The 20-year-old skippered the young Irish side to a 1-1 draw in Kiev's Obolon Arena in their penultimate European Championship qualifier.

Donnelly, who will be absent from this weekend's League Two clash with Crawley Town due to his international involvement, completed the 90 minutes in Eastern Europe.

Paul Smyth, of Linfield, got the only goal for Jim Magilton's men.

Donnelly is likely to again lead his side on Tuesday when the U-21s take on France (KO 5.45pm) at the recently redeveloped Windsor Park.

He will be available for Craig Hignett again next weekend, when Pools travel to Carlisle United.

Countryman Trevor Carson is in the Nothern Ireland senior squad for this weekend's match with San Marino in World Cup qualifying. They then take on defending world champions Germany on Tuesday night in Hannover.

Carson too, fitness allowing, will also be available for eight days time.