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Premier team retain the Mourne Cup

County Down’s Premier Squad retained the Mourne Cup on Sunday afternoon at Kilmore Playing Fields.

After defeating Ards U18 4-0 in their opening game, Co Down knew a draw against a strong Glentoran U20 team would be enough to win the trophy.

Down scored early against Ards and from the fast start never really looked in trouble against an Ards team who had came into the tournament at the last minute following a withdrawal.

The second game against Glentoran had much more zip about it with Cafolla, Jallow and Delaney all lining out, however Down gave a much more committed performance and were fully deserving of their draw. In fact they probably just edged it with the best chance of the game falling to Adam Carroll who failed to register from the spot.

In the day’s other games, Glentoran defeated County Armagh SuperCupNI 4-1 while Armagh inflicted a loss on Ards by the same score.

All in all a good day of football with thanks to County Armagh, Glentoran U20s and Ards U18s for taking part.

A special thanks goes to Nicola and Hannah for looking after the teas and to Hendy for working his magic on the barbecue. Their help was really appreciated.

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Get ready for the 2017 competition

The 2017 SuperCupNI takes place on the north coast from 23rd-28th July. County Down will again be entering teams in the Junior (2002s) and Premier (2000s) sections. We’ll be publishing details very soon about how you can try out for this year’s competition, with trials to take place around the end of April.

Keep an eye on our website and facebook page for more info.

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Chambers Wins Bertie Peacock

Aaron Boyd won the Bertie Peacock trophy at the Dale Farm Milk Cup almost nine years ago for County Down, and this year the former Coleraine and Glentoran striker was part of Davy Bryson’s Junior coaching staff and was there to see their Captain Jack Chambers, follow in his footsteps. The skillful midfielder who has been at Linfield for the past nine years, was a commanding presence at the heart of the Down midfield and ran out a worthy winner for the illustrious trophy. He scored and was instrumental in the opening day demolition of English Championship side Brentford. Despite being underdogs, the man from Banbridge was confident going into the game, “I knew we could beat them before the game but perhaps the only surprise was the margin by which we did. It was such a great team effort from everybody and it proved that all the hard work done by the players and coaches paid off. This year, moreso even than last year, there was a greater team effort. Everyone worked excellently together. We as a group, both the coaches and players wanted to unite together to try and achieve the highest possible finish.”

However, despite the personal accolades showered upon him for his performances over the course of the week, the Northern Ireland international would have swapped them all for Milk Cup Glory;”The Tuesday was a massive disappointment, going down 1-0 against Donegal schools, which was a game that on another day we would have won 3 or 4. If the draw had have gone our way, we could have been entering Friday with a Milk Cup final to play. To me, success with and for the team would always triumph over personal accolades, but it just wasn’t meant to be.” Despite Having crammed into 5 games in 5 days on top of a long and grueling 8 weeks preparation for the Tournament, there is no let up for the softly spoken Chambers who will be back in training for Northern Ireland next week ahead of the Mayo Cup on the 20th August. “With the Mayo cup coming up so quickly on the horizon you don’t get a chance to catch a breath. The Milk Cup was brilliant, I enjoyed every minute of it and I would like to thank all the coaches at County Down and Linfield as well as my parents, without whom none of this would have been possible. It was an amazing feeling to be recognized as the Best County Player at the Milk Cup, especially for my family and in front of the Right to Dream guys, who were amazing all week. However some of the best moments were the craic we had with Davy Bryson and John Bailie, it really was a week I won’t forget. But now it is time to kick on for Linfield and Northern Ireland next year and hopefully sign a scholarship to plan professional football in England, which has always been my dream.”

Junior Manager David Bryson has no doubts over the ability of young Chambers to make it in the professional game; “When we initially went through the process of selecting Jack as Captain, we also had big Leo Brown and Adam McAleenan in contention. When you are looking for a captain you are not just looking for someone who is a very good footballer, you are also looking for someone who can inspire people even when they are not at their best, an individual who recognizes that their mate struggling and is able to help. Jack has that quality in abundance and was the ultimate team player. In the final game against Rangers, when he played in the previous 4 games, at half time he put his hand up and said that he was shattered and had to come off. Instead of being selfish and wanting to continue to play on, he understood that the needs of the team came above his own. For me that is special and he

was someone who has the ability to change the nature of any game he is involved in. It has been a privilege to watch him play this summer and hopefully he will go onto to fulfill his potential.’

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Bailie’s Premier side defeat Ballymena

The premier team travelled to ballymena on saturday for their annual game against the local Under 19 team. Once Again it turned out to be a very useful exercise with Down edging a tight game 1-0 thanks to a Keegan rice goal on 52 minutes.

Down had the better of the opening 20 minutes forcing a number of corners. Jack McLaughlin and Salou hallow both went close before ballymena started to ascert themselves on the game. Their front man Stewarty Nixon twice had efforts fly off target as the half ended scoreless.

Down got off to the best possible start to the second half. A well flighted Patrick Cafolla corner was side footed home by rice to give them the lead. Two minutes later and down should have doubled their advantage when clever interplay between jallow, McLaughlin and herdsman saw the laters shot brilliantly saved by the ballymena keeper. Closest ballymena came to an equaliser was from a free kick saved by Oliver fleetham with down threatening with shots from Aaron devlin and Matty Johnston.

The game ended 1-0 in downs favour in what was a good workout.

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Premier boys maintain winning form!


Co Down Premiers enjoyed a 4-2 victory today against Dundalk U18s at Oriel Park. Dundalk opened strongly and poor defending gave the Dundalk forward a free header that looped over Fleetham and into the net to give Dundalk the lead on 5 minutes. It took Down time to settle and when they did settle they caused the Dundalk defence a few problems. Herdman had his shot saved by the keeper before Down were, back on level terms. A clever through ball from Rice picked out the on running Devlin and as the keeper came out to clear his clearance hit off Devlin and ended up in the net. Herdsman should have then given Down the lead but when through on goal the keeper was again equal to him. Garland then saw his header rebound off the post.



Down got off to the worst possible start to the second half when minutes in, a rare slip from Whittle allowed the Dundalk forward to race through on goal and slot home. On 60 minutes Down were again level. McLaughlin played a clever ball to Murtagh who showed excellent composure before lobbing the keeper from 16 yards. Down were now taking control and it was no surprise when Murtagh got his second with a fine header from a Kelly cross. Browne added a fourth on 70 minutes and again Murtagh was involved. His shot was saved but Browne showed a great alertness to slot home the rebound. This was a good performance from Down against a useful Dundalk team.

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Junior side return to winning ways!

Bryson’s side, were looking to bounce back after a difficult day yesterday against a strong Shelbourne select side. The opposition, were Dundalk Schoolboy league, and County Down produced a commanding performance to win 3-1.

The Junior side started well and were almost in front Carson picked the ball up on the half half way line, and clipped a ball towards striker Tipping. The ball was headed clear, but only into the path of Mcllmail who controlled before volleying the ball towards goal, but unfortunately for the Down winger the keeper was equal to the effort.

Down were playing some decent stuff against a strong Dundalk side, and almost took the lead when a neat attacking move involving Tharmaratham and Tipping that released Chambers inside the box on the left hand side, but Bryson’s captain for the day, failed to beat the Dundalk keeper with his left footed drive.

Chambers almost scored again, just a few minutes before half time, when Gordon, after a powerful run through midfield released Tipping down the right hand side. The strapping forward, crossed the ball and Dundalk cleared the ball only as far as the midfielder who controlled, and set himself before stinging the palms of the goalkeeper with a long-range shot. Moments later, the young men from Down went even closer. This time the ball broke to Mcllmail on the edge of box, and the winger cracked the right hand post with a spectacular left footed volley.

As the half time whistle loomed, Down gave the ball away on the edge of their own box. The Dundalk forward picked up the ball and raced clear of Bryson’s defenders but Anderson did brilliantly to divert the effort wide of his right hand post.

Down dominated the first half but found themselves 1-0 down inside the first 2 minutes of the second half when the ball was played down the Dundalk right. The winger collected the ball, outstripping his opposite number, before pulling the ball back to the Dundalk forward who converted from close range. However Bryson’s men were not behind for long, when the ball landed to Henderson on the edge of the box. The substitute controlled the ball before firing the ball into the top right hand corner to restore parity.

County Down were in charge of the game and it looked like it was only a matter of time before they took the lead. Matheison was a constant threat with his driving runs forward and on one occasion he found Henderson who went close with a shot.

Moments later, the Junior boys had gained the lead they richly deserved for their second half performance, when Chambers released Truesdale inside the box on the left hand side. The forward, stepped onto the ball, and feigned to shoot and instead cut the ball back to Brown who converted from close range to make it 2-1.

It was 3-1 soon after when Chambers collected the ball in midfield, beating a couple of men on his way into the opposition half. He found Truesdale who drove the ball into the feet of Brown, who controlled before spinning his man and finding the back of the net with his finish.

Matheison almost got the goal his play merited when he was released inside the box after a clever one-two with Brown, but the midfielder’s right footed shot went straight at the goalkeeper.

Then in the dying seconds of the match, Brown almost got his hat trick when Kanwei latched onto a through ball down the right, before pulling the ball back into the path of Brown who from 12 yards out missed the target with his left footed shot. Regardless it was a, much improved performance and Bryson will certainly be pleased with what he saw on show as his side ended the Dublin trip with victory.

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Bailie’s men start as they mean to go on!

Saturday afternoon at Oriel Park in Dundalk was the first match John Bailie got to see his Premier side in action, and if the opening performance was anything to go by the man from portavogie will be quietly confident of causing a few upsets at 2015 Dale Farm Milk Cup. Shelbourne were the opposition and they were outclassed by an impressive Down side.

It all began, early on in the match when Kelly clipped the ball down the right hand side into the path of forward Browne who gathered the ball and pulled it back into the feet of Murtagh, who from 6 yards out made no mistake with the finish. 1-0 County Down and Bailie’s men had their second moments later. Murtagh was involved again and it was Neale who delivered a cross from the left wing to the back post, and where right forward McLaughlin was on hand to convert from close range.

It was all one way traffic in the first half, as Browne went close twice after being found by Houston inside the box, but the forward failed to hit the target on both occasions.

McLaughlin, was causing all sorts of problems for the Shelbourne defence, and the flying winger was at it again, this time finding the head of Murtagh at the back post, who flicked it back into O’kane, and the midfielder headed home from close range to make it 3-0.

Moments later, just before half time County Down added to their tally courtesy of the impressive Browne up front who poked home from close range following good play from Neale down the left hand side.
It was all to easy for Bailie’s men as they walked for the half time interval. There was no let up in the intensity of the second half with Down still pressing forward at every opportunity and they got their just reward for some excellent attacking play when Jallow found Johnston inside the Shelbourne box. The forward dropped the shoulder, leaving the defender for dead, before drilling the ball into the back of the net for 5-0.

Neale and Jallow both went close following some more incisive attacking play form Bailie’s side. Devlin, who was a constant creative force in the second half, found Herdman on the right hand corner of the penalty box, and the winger’s stinging shot was spectacularly saved by the Shelbourne keeper. However against the run of play, Shelbourne got a consolation goal, when a ball from the right was diverted into the net after Down failed to clear.
In truth it was all to easy for Bailie’s men, and they added some added gloss to the comprehensive victory with a 6th goal. Herdman, who had went close on a couple of occasions got his just reward for a strong performance, after he converted from a Devlin through ball. Bailie, on his 40th Birthday, will be very satisfied with how his team played in ther opening game as a squad.

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Junior side beat 3-0

The wind was swirling at Oriel Park in Davy Bryson’s sides first game of the annual Dublin trip and it would prove to be an unsatisfactory afternoon for the Donaghadee man’s side slipped to an unfortunate defeat. Despite the difficult conditions and against older opposition County Down started the better side and were doing their best to take control of the game, and had it been for a better final ball in the last third, the boys in blue could have been one or two in front inside the first 20 minutes.

The first clear cut opportunity came on 20 mins, when Wardlow collected the ball on the left hand side. The full back spotted the run, of captain for the day Leo Brown, clipping the ball into his path. The powerful forward from from 25 yards out, at an acute angle rifled his shot into the side netting. Down seemed to be in control, without creating too many chances, however against the run of play, Bryson’s back four failed to deal with a long ball upfield. The ball broke to the Shelborne midfielder who slid the ball into the path of his forward who made no mistake with the finish to put his side in front.

The rest of the first half was pretty uneventful with both Down and Shelbourne battling for the ascendency. The game was high on endeavour but perhaps, due to the wind, lacking that bit of quality. Just before half time, Leo brown almost got Down back into the game. Shelborne failed to clear the ball from their own box, and the ball fell to Brown who from close range was twice denied.

However on the stroke of half time Shelbourne doubled their lead, when Down struggled to deal with another long ball and the same man for Shelbourne raced through and lifted it over the advancing Hazard in goal to make it 2-0 to the hosts.

If the weather was bad in the first half, it was a lot worse in the second and it was certainly having an effect on proceedings. The wind was swirling and rain was coming down as Bryson’s side attempted to get themselves back into the game. Tom Mathieson took an in swinging corner from the left hand side that swirled viciously almost catching the goalkeeper off guard. Tharmaratham was next to go close, this time flicking his near post header just wide of the far post. Down, were looking the better side as the second half went on, and after some good play from Mathieson released brown inside the box, but the keeper was equal to the shot. Moments later, Down went close again this time McAleenan stabbing the ball towards goal, from a Chambers corner, but the keeper did well to get down and save the shot.

It was all one way traffic, with Down looking like they would get back into the game, however with 10 minutes remaining any hope of a comeback was extinguished when sloppy play in midfield gave Shelbourne the ball. They broke, and the ball was slid into their forward who placed the ball underneath Hazard to seal the victory and make it 3-0. That was the last meaningful event of the game but despite the defeat, Bryson will be pleased with the second half performance.

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Bryson’s Juniors kick off with a bang!

After a gruelling and painstaking trial process that lasted over two months, as 200 hundred hopeful kids were whittled down to a final 18, Davy Bryson’s Junior squad began their preparations for the 2015 Dale Farm Milk cup with victory at the George Reynolds memorial Cup earlier on this afternoon.

Competing against Cavan and Monaghan youth league, Friends Select academy and County Armagh in a straight knockout four-team tournament, Down, despite blustery and wet conditions impressed everyone in attendance at St Genevieve’s high school in Belfast with two fine performances to lift the trophy in Bryson’s debut bow as manager.


Down secured their place in the final, fighting off a spirited second half comeback from Cavan and Monaghan Youth League, to win 6-3. Goals were clearly the order of the day in Belfast, and the boys in blue started on the front foot causing their opposition all sorts of problems with some incisive attacking play. Central Midfielder Chambers was at the heart of everything Down were producing and it was his delivery from the left that lead to County Down’s first goal of the 2015 campaign. The ball landed at the feet of Torrans following Cavan and Monaghan’s failed attempts to clear the ball, and the big centre half calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net to make it 1-0 after 10 minutes.

Playing out from the back at every opportunity and looking like they would score with every attack, Bryson would have been very happy with the way his squad began in their first run-out. However, against the run of play Cavan and Monaghan equalised from the penalty spot.

Despite the setback, Down were still the dominant side and they regained the lead just minutes after Cavan and Monaghan had pegged them back. Powerful forward Leo Brown outstripped the opposition defence, leaving two men in his wake before sliding the ball past the en-rushing goalkeeper from 12 yards out with his left foot.

The second half begun how the first ended and it was 3-1 at the start of the half. Brown this time turned provider as he found Tipping who made no mistake with his finish, rifling the ball into the back of the net from close range.

From that point, it seemed like Bryson’s exciting side would run out easy winners, however, football is a funny old game, and within minutes of the restart Cavan and Monaghan had pulled another one back, and it was 3-2 as a long range free-kick that flew into the roof of Goalkeeper Hazard net. Down’s intensity dropped, and Cavan and Monaghan had discovered a sense of purpose in their play that was lacking in the opening half. Indeed, It was not long before the most unlikely of comebacks was completed after some slack play in the Down defence was punished, with the opposition forward finding the back of the net with his shot mid-way through the second half.

That goal seemed to spark some much needed life into the County Down Junior Side who had not played the second half with the same skill, intensity and ruthlessness of the first. They restored their lead, 10 minutes from time, when Jack Henderson delivered in an out-swinging corner from right caused mayhem in the six-yard box. As the side from down South failed to clear the ball, Calum Carson was on hand to tap it into an empty net to make it 4-3. Tipping, grabbed his second and Down’s 5th of the morning, as he collected the ball yards from goal, before spinning out of trouble and unleashing an unstoppable right footed effort that nestled in the top left hand corner. Then, with just minutes, left of the clock, Carson grabbed his brace with a composed finish from the edge of the box to add some gloss to the score-line and send Bryson’s men into the final.

The Junior squad, carried on their impressive form in the opening game in the final, running out easy 6-0 winners against County Armagh and Leo Brown was the star of the show grabbing 4 goals as he terrorised the Armagh defence from start to finish. It all began when Chambers collected the ball in midfield, and spotting the run of Brown in behind the Armagh defence, slipped it into his path. The forward found the back of the net with a neat finish. The prolific front man, was at it again this time he worked his way past two Armagh defenders before drilling the ball into the net. Down were playing some lovely stuff, and were in command of the game. Unlike the first game, they did not allow the opposition back into game. Brown got his Hat-trick just after Half time, after some good work from Alex Mcllmail set Brown free inside the box. He took a touch and dispatched the shot into the bottom corner to make it 3-0. Bryson’s side moved into top-gear in the final 20 minutes. Henderson and Warlow combined well down the left hand side before the latter drove the ball across the six- yard box and Lumi Kanwei converted from close range to add the fourth in a one-sided final. Shortly after it was 5-0 and it was that man again, Brown who was on hand to finish a fine County Down move involving the impressive Tipping. The icing on the cake came in the last minute, when Mcllmail who had been a threat through sidestepped a couple of challenges on his way into the box before out-foxing the goalkeeper with his finish. All in all, it was a very straightforward victory for an exciting County Down side and Jack Chambers, captain for the day, got to lift the trophy. Bryson however will be well aware, that his side will face much sterner opposition over the course of the next 8 week as preparations intensify. That being said, the man from Donaghadee will certainly be thrilled with obtaining silverware in his first outing a Junior Manager.  Leo Brown scored 5 goals and took the player of the Tournament award, while Calum Carson won the Man of the Match award in the opening game. For now Bryson and his players will put the medals away in the cupboard, and begin looking forward to what will be a much tougher weekend in Dublin next Friday.


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