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2019 Trials…we hear from the Managers

Over the last number of weeks a series of trials have taken place to help the team of selectors identify the talent to deliver a successful week for the 18 person Junior and Premier squads.

After closing observing the skill sets on offer Junior Squad manager, Gary McAlister, was enthusiastic about his side’s chances noting

“The selectors and I have been very impressed with the talent on show. We had over 100 players to assess over the last 6 weeks and decisions to cut this to 18 have not been easy. We are confident that we have assembled a great squad to compete at this year’s tournament and look forward to Thursday’s draw too see what challenges lie ahead”

John Bailie, Premier Squad Manager, added

“I’ve been very impressed by the standard of player who have attended trials recently. This year there has been a really good blend of 2002 and 2003 age groups and it is very likely that this year’s squad will contain quite a few younger players”.

Moving forward Gary and John will be selecting their final squads, who will then embark in a programme of training sessions and matches to give them every chance of success, with the aim to bring trophies back to County Down.

This year’s tournament kicks off on Sunday 28th July with the Opening Parade & Ceremony and conclude with the Finals on Friday 2nd August, 2019.

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Trials 05 May 2019

Today’s trials have now concluded and it is now time for the coaches to sit down and reflect, with some tough decisions to be made in the days ahead.

Starting of this morning Coach John Bailie and his team took their players through a light training session, before embarking in a game against Friends Academy.

Our boys ran out comprehensive winners, however on this occasion the scoreline played second to giving the players an opportunity to showcase their skills and putting themselves in the frame for one of those all-important places in the final squad.

We would like to thank the players and staff from Friends Academy for assisting in the trial, which is greatly appreciated.

Moving forward into the afternoon and it was the turn of the Juniors to push themselves forward into Coach Gary McAlister’s thoughts.

Split into two teams the trialists performed as we thought they would, showing great determination and exceptional skills, providing great optimism for us to make a firm impression in this year’s STATSport SuperCup NI.

Over the course of the last few weeks there have been numerous players who have given their all to warrant their place in the final squads and we would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their efforts.

Additionally, to the parents and guardians who have given their time to bring the boys to the trails and stand through the all too familiar Northern Ireland weather, we would like to please on record our gratitude.

Those players selected or do not make the final squads will be notified by letter in due course.

We would like to make it clear at this stage that in accepting a place in the final squad, those players are committed to attend every training session, so that we have every chance of not just performing in the tournament, but winning it.

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Junior Squad Trials update

Trials Sunday 28 Apr 2019

This Sunday sees our Junior Trials take a different form, as the selectors look to narrow numbers down towards the final squad.

36 players will be split into two squads who will compete in two games at Bangor Sportsplex.

  • Game 1 vs Friends Select Academy – 11am Kick off
  • Game 2 vs Beann Mhádagháin FC – 2pm Kick off

Those players involved in these game and the prior trail on 14th April 2019 will be notified after Sunday as to who has made it through to the final stage.

Thank you again to all those who have taken part in trials to date.

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Premier Squad Trials Update

Trials for the 2019 County Down STATSport Super Cup NI Premier squad continue this Sunday ( 28 April 2019) @Bangor Sportsplex from 10-12pm.

Players required to attend will be notified.

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Peninsula Print

On behalf of everyone at County Down STATSport Super Cup NI, can we offer a sincere thank you to Peninsula Print & Design for sponsoring our tracksuit and training gear for this year’s tournament.

Offering a simple mission ‘To provide a highly cost-effective printing service with the very best turnaround times and the added benefit of expert advice’, their website is a must place to visit to get further details on the excellent services they offer.


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Stong end to Dublin Weekend as both Junior and Premier squads win!

County Down Dale Farm Milk cup Junior side responded well from Saturday afternoon’s defeat against St Kevins under 15’s with a 5-3 victory over a representative side from Eircom League side Shelbourne. However the young Down lads did not have it their own way as they went 1-0 Down inside the opening minutes thanks to a left footed piled-river from 30 yards into the top left hand corner of the net, giving Thompson in the Down goal no chance. The Down lads did not let their heads drop and were rewarded 10 minutes later after good work from Lennon set up Kelly who smashed it into the corner of the net to make it 1-1. Graham almost made it 2-1 after some neat work from White set the Down forward up and he was unlucky with his effort. Kelly who was in the middle of the action almost grabbed his brace but he headed over following neat interplay down the right hand side. Minutes later Down were rewarded for their best performance of the weekend as Graham netted with a low drive from the edge of the box. Despite being in the ascendency a defensive error resulted in the Down central defender hacking down the Shelbourne attacker inside the box. A penalty was duly awarded and the Dundalk forward dusted himself down and slotted the resulting spot kick past the keeper. Sharvin who had just come on, was immediately involved as he made a driving run before slipping team mate Cassidy through on goal but the keeper was out quick and did well to deny the powerful striker. Cassidy again went close minutes later but his long rasping drive was well saved by the Shelbourne goalkeeper. Down who had re-took control of the game went back in front through Garland, as he turned the Shelbourne defender and hit an instinctive shot from 25 yards out, which left the goalkeeper motionless as the ball landed in the top right hand corner. Kyle Spiers Junior Squad kicked on from then and made it 4-2 through Mitchell. Mitchell was again on hand to make it 5-2, blasting in from close range after some nice approach play. Garland physical presence was causing all sorts of problems for the Shelbourne side and was heavily involved in all that was good from Down going forward. It was almost six when the lively McArthur skipped by a couple of tackles and fizzed a ball across the box to Gorman who saw his effort well saved from the goalkeeper. Shelbourne got a consolation goal through another penalty as the match finished up 5-3. It was a morale boosting victory after yesterday’s defeat and saw the Down lads finish the weekend on a high. Kyle Spiers will have saw plenty of things to be positive about as he prepares his side for the Dale Farm Milk Cup proper in just under 5 weeks time.


John Bailie’s Premier outfit finished off an impressive weekend as they defeated a strong Dundalk under 19 side 2-1 in a close fought encounter. Despite the age difference there was little to separate the sides in the opening stages of the first half as both teams cancelled each other out. The first chance of the game came when Rice sent a ball over the Dundalk defence for the lively Johnston to chase, the Goalkeeper arrived first to the ball but picked it up outside his area.The Dundalk goalkeeper somehow escaped without a card but Left winger Lennox almost punished him for his error in judgement as he whipped the resulting Free-kick off the bar. The ball came down off the bar and looked to have gone in but the referee dismissed the Down claims and it remained 0-0. The next chance fell to Dundalk and after the ball ricocheted inside the Down box it fell to their striker on the penalty spot and he saw his shot tipped wide by Fleetham. Down took the lead with 10 minutes to go until half time after a looping cross from McAvoy on the right crashed against the bar and fell perfectly to Down striker Howard who made no mistake with a calm finish from 5 yards. The second half picked up where the first ended, with Down on top. They capitalised on this pressure and made it 2-0 through an excellent goal from the dangerous Johnston. The forward who was released following skilful play from Lennox as he drifted past 2 players before sliding the ball to Johnston. The Down forward still had plenty to do and evaded a couple of Dundalk defenders before drilling the ball into the right hand corner with his left footed shot. Dundalk pulled one back as a long range effort evaded Fleetham in the Down goal. As the game became stretched in the dying embers of the match it was John Bailie’s side who looked more likely to add to their lead. Lennox against came off the left hand side before passing to Foster whose long range drive struck the foot off the Dundalk post. As both sides made a raft of changes the game lost its early ebb and flow. Nonetheless John Bailie will certainly be happy with his side’s commanding performance against a side a couple of years older.


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Premier Side Win as Juniors go Down against St Kevins!

Kyle Spiers’ County Down Junior side were comprehensively beaten by a strong St. Kevins boys under 16 side in the second game of the weekend in Dublin. Playing against an older outfit the Down lads were always going to be up against it, and so it proved. St Kevins took an early lead after two minutes. After winning the ball in midfield the left winger was played through on goal and he made no mistake as he slotted past Canavan in the Down goal. Down responded almost immediately after neat interplay between Kelly and Jack Sharvin saw the two-footed left winger Chambers blast the ball into the corner of the net only for it to be disallowed dubiously for offside. Minutes later St Kevins made it 2-0 after a ball in from the left was finished off with a neat finish from their centre forward. Despite the scoreline County Down refused to give up as Sharvin, who was impressing in central midfield won the ball of his opposition number before skipping past the centre half only to be cruelly hacked down. He dusted himself down and tested the keeper with the resulting free-kick. However any hope of a Down comeback was dispersed when St Kevins made it 3-0 after their striker slid the ball past the Down goalkeeper. St Kevins continued to press home their advantage as they looked to add to their total. Canavan in the Down goal was on hand to deny St Kevins on several occasions with some outstanding saves.


Despite the work of Cannavan it was 4-0 soon after as St Kevins centre forward who was a thorn in the Down defence all night, turned and shot from the edge of the box into the bottom corner. The Down lads looked like they were feeling the effects of two games in two days as St Kevins continued to work the Down back four of Kelly, Marshall, McCloy and Nelson. St Kevins made it 5 with a looping header as the centre forward netted his hat-trick. It was 6 soon after with another header following a neat bit of play down the left hand side. St Kevins then made it 7-0 as Down were punished for not clearing their lines as the left winger drove home from outside the box. That final goal seemed to jolt the young Down lads into action again as they pulled one back through scott McArthur. Sharvin got his just rewards for his hard-working performance as he broke through from midfield and slotted it past the onrushing keeper to make it 7-2. Minutes later after Sharvin was at it again as he burst into the box, before being bundled over by clumsy challenge. Sharvin took the resulting penalty and scored the rebound after the keeper saved his first attempt. Despite the late flurry of goals the Kyle Spiers County Down side will have learnt a harsh lesson as they struggled against a strong St Kevins under 15 side. However with still over a month until the Dale Farm Milk Cup kick off in earnest there is still plenty of time for County Down to learn from their mistakes. Kyle Spiers Junior squad will hope to do better as they take on a representative side from Eircom league side, Shelbourne at Gormaston College. Kick off is at 1030 am.


Co Down followed up their 3 nil victory on Friday night with another excellent performance as they outclassed St Kevins under 17’s 3-0 on saturday. St Kevins started the brighter of the two sides and almost opened the scoring when good movement from their centre forward saw him race clear of thew Down defence but his final effort lack conviction and was easily saved by Down goalkeeper Kane. The game was evenly balanced and both defences were on top. However this all changed on 30 minutes when Rushe got on the end of a lovely through ball from Dempster to slot it past the onrushing goalkeeper to give John Bailie’s premier side the lead. St Kevin’s responded almost immediately and had the best chance of the first half when poor defending allowed the St Kevins centre forward to evade the Down defence only for his shot to miss the target. Drylie then engineered himself a bit of space only for his shot to miss the target from the edge of the box. In a concentrated period of Down pressure Rice went close right on half time as his header was well saved by the St Kevin goalkeeper.


Down added their second goal on 46 minutes as Rushe who was threatening throughout skipped by his marker to slot past the keeper from 10 yards out. By this stage Down were in complete control and Newell went close to adding a Down third, shooting from an acute angle. Salley was then denied another goal but the St Kevin’s defender was on hand to clear the ball of the line. Neale made it 3-0 on 76 minutes firing in emphatically from 8 yards out following unselfish platy from Coffey. John Bailie’s premier squad put in another commanding performance and were well worth their victory. With one game left of the weekend against a representative side from Eircom league side Dundalk in Dundalk, John Bailie will have plenty to mull over as he attempts to name his final 18 in the next week.


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Mixed fortunes for Down sides on opening fixtures of Dublin weekend!!

Kyle Spiers’ County Down Dale Farm Milk Cup Junior squad were defeated 3-2 by North Dublin Schoolboys in the first of their three matches in Dublin this weekend. Despite the result, Kyle Spiers will be able to take plenty of positives, as his side produced a spirited performance against a team a year older and with 4 internationals in it.


County Down began the game in confident fashion playing the ball out from the back at every opportunity. On 5 minutes the early pressure was almost rewarded after Nelson went close from a Free-kick won after Bates was brought down on the edge of the Dublin Box. McMaster who was lively in the opening exchanges went even closer minutes later only for his effort to be denied by the Dublin Schoolboys keeper. Then on 15 minutes, after a clever through ball with the outside of his right foot by McClements, Cassidy was put through but the keeper was out quick to deny the big striker. After the early flurry of chances for Kyle Spiers’ side the Dublin schoolboys came back into it and began to put the Down back four under pressure. Despite loosing the ascendency in the match Down were dealing well with everything the North Dublin Schoolboys had to throw at them. And as the second third came to a close, both teams were cancelling each other out and the game had draw written all over it.


But as the last third began the game sparked into life as an in-swinging corner was met by their centre half who looped a header past the Down keeper to make it 1-0 to the North Dublin schoolboys. County Down responded immediately as Garland who had been moved up front in the last third latched onto a loose pass from the North Dublin Schoolboys goalkeeper and as he bared down on goal delayed for a split second, allowing the opposition defender to catch up and the resulting collision winded up in the North Dublin Schoolboys net to make it 1-1. The North Dublin side looked the fresher of the two sides and it seemed only a matter of time before they regained the lead. This duly happened 5 minutes after the County Down equaliser. As another in-swinging corner from the left was met by the same central defender who this time powered it past the Down goalkeeper to make it 2-1. It was 3-1 shortly after, as the North Dublin Schoolboys striker slotted in from 12 yards after the Down lads failed to clear their lines. Despite loosing 3-1 Down refused to give up and got their just rewards for a plucky performance with a consolation goal from Ciaran Kelly in the last minutes of the game, as he rose to meet a Fearon cross. The game finished up 3-2 and it could have been a very different scoreline had Kyle Spiers’ men took advantage of their early pressure. Nonetheless with the Milk Cup still over a month away, performances and not results will be more important for Kyle Spiers Dale Farm Milk Cup Junior Squad. The next game from the weekend in Dublin will take place today against St Kevins’ under 15’s in what promises to be another stern test for the County Down lads. The game will kick of at 2pm and directions can be found from the St. Kevins Boys website.


John Bailie’s Dale Farm premier Down Milk Cup squad faired slightly better than their Junior counterparts in the first game of the weekend as beat North Dublin Schoolboys 3-0 after a blistering first half performance. Picking up where they left of last Sunday, the County Down premier side were in in impressive as they dismantled an experienced North Dublin schoolboys side with some slick attacking play. Adam Salley went close on 8 minutes as the powerful striker went through on goal only for his shot to go wide of the goal. Down got their reward for an impressive start on 12 minutes When Dempster was one the end of a fine passing move involving McGovern, Salley and Michael Johnston to fire home from the edge of the box. Coffey then went close from close range but the Portavogie man was not to be denied after he flicked home from a flicked home from a Reece Neale free kick on 23 minutes. County Down who were well in control by this stage continued to press and looked hungry for more goals. Minutes later they got their wish as Salley was again in the midst of the action as he slotted home from 14 yards after being unselfishly set up by striker partner Coffey. Despite going close several more times the first half came to a close with Down very much in control.


The second half saw a much tamer affair with the North Dublin Schoolboys enjoying more possession. However for all their efforts they only created one worthwhile effort on 70 minutes but Fletham in the Down goal made a splendid save. John Bailie will have plenty to smile about the first half performance and another victory will certainly breed confidence as they head into their next game against St Kevins under 18’s later on today. The premier game will kick off at 2pm with the match taking place at Gormaston college.



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