2008 Tournament

Saturday 9th August 2008 – Best ever Milk Cup for County Down

County Down’s Junior and Premier teams enjoyed unparalleled success at the 26th Northern Ireland Milk Cup. The Junior side came third overall, behind Wolverhampton Wanderers and eventual winners Everton. Manager Paul Ritchie and coach Kyle Spiers picked up the award for the Best Irish Team. Captain Ben Oliver, an intelligent and classy central defender, received the Bertie Peacock Bursary after being named County Player of the Tournament. And there was further excitement on the final day as Donald Malomo-Paris, in his first year in charge of the Premier team, brought home silverware in the form of the BT Trophy. Chairman Bobbie Reid presented all players with their county medals at the Ballymena Showgrounds. Awards were presented as follows:

Bertie Peacock Bursary/Junior County Player of the Milk Cup – Ben Oliver and County Down Junior Player’s Player of the Tournament – Ben Oliver

County Down Junior leading goalscorer – Michael McLellan (4 goals)

Chairman’s Cup – Shane Harrison

County Down Premier Player’s Player of the Tournament – Aaron Burns

County Down Premier leading goalscorers – Aaron Boyd/Eoin Boyle (2 goals)

McCloskey Cup – Liam Graham

Thursday 7th August 2008 – BBC Milk Cup Programme

BBC Two will air a Milk Cup highlights programme this Friday (8th August) at 7.30pm. It hasn’t been included in any program listings, but should make superb viewing.

Friday 1st August 2008 – Final Day at the Milk Cup

Junior Section – Milk Cup 3rd/4th play-off County Down 2 Maccabi Tel Aviv 0
Best ever finish for County Down at the Milk Cup

County Down made history when they defeated Maccabi Tel Aviv by two goals to nil to finish in third place at the Milk Cup. Paul Ritchie’s side also gained the award for the best Irish team at the tournament.

Jordan Patmore gave County Down the lead after just four minutes, looping a shot over the Tel Aviv keeper from the edge of the area.

Daryl Bright should have doubled the lead four minutes into the second half. Bright lofted the ball over the bar with the keeper well out of his area.

Andrew Wallace, made an excellent one-handed save with six minutes of the game remaining to keep his side in front.

Top-scorer Michael McLellan sealed the game with a minute remaining. Luke Wilson provided the throughball, and McLellan raced through for his fourth goal of the competition.

The achievement is all the more remarkable considering that only Everton and Wolverhampton Wanderers finished above the boys from County Down.

There was further good news for County Down captain Ben Oliver after the match when he was named County Player of the Tournament.

Junior team: Wallace, Allen, Oliver, Mullen, McBride, Moffett, Thompson, Bright, Kernaghan, Patmore, Dupree,
Subs: Harrison, Bright, Battersby, McLellan, Wilson, Forsythe, Mawhinney

Premier Section – BT Trophy final County Down 3 Cruz Azul 2
Boyd double gives County Down the title

County Down’s third win on the spin earned Donald Malomo-Paris the BT Trophy title in his first Milk Cup as manager. Aaron Boyd scored goals either side of the break, and Liam Graham notched the other as County Down rounded off the week in style against the boys from Mexico.

The locals however had to do it the hard way. They went behind in the 22nd minute when slack defending allowed Michel Esparza in to open the scoring.

County Down levelled the scores nine minutes later. Skipper Jimmy Callacher’s pass cut open the Mexican backline and Boyd slotted into the corner of the net.

Aaron Boyd got his second of the match seven minutes into the second half. The Newtownards lad brought the ball under control before lashing a vicious shot past the keeper.

With 22 minutes remaining County Down made it 3-1. Callacher’s whipped cross picked out Graham who made no mistake at the back post.

The Mexican’s scored a late consolation, but County Down held on for a momentous win.

Premier team: Buchanan, Beattie, Butler, Haughey, Burns, Callacher, Keenan, Boyle, Morgan, Boyd, Graham
Subs: Cahill, Gracey, McAuley, Frazer

Thursday 31th July 2008 – Day Four at the Milk Cu

Down captain Ben Oliver
with the Everton skipper

Heartache for County Down in Milk Cup semi-final
Junior Section – Milk Cup semi-final County Down 0 Everton 2

County Down conceded two goals in the final five minutes against Everton at the Riada Stadium and narrowly missed out on becoming the first ever county side to reach the Milk Cup final.

It was always going to be difficult against Premiership opposition, but the local lads had clearly done their homework. Everton dangerman and tournament top-scorer Hallam Hope was superbly man-marked by Rossglass’ Rory Mullen. The sides went in level at the break.

County Down captain Ben Oliver, who was outstanding throughout, had a long-range free-kick pushed over by James Fitzgibbon four minutes after the restart.

Three minutes later, Everton went on the offensive. Ross Barkley’s drilled effort came back off the woodwork.

Hope had a clear cut opportunity to open the scoring with twelve minutes remaining, but the Everton striker somehow managed to sidefoot wide with the goal at his mercy.

Rory Mullen challenges
Everton striker Hallam Hope

Shane Harrison then made a superb save with his feet from a Ross Barkley shot.

With just five minutes left Everton made the breakthrough. Connah Lewis’ shot was parried by Harrison, but the ball ended up in the net.

Everton closed out the game with a breakaway goal from Hope a minute from time.

It truly was a heroic effort from the County Down lads who took Everton all the way. They now face Maccabi Tel Aviv in the 3rd/4th place play-off.

Junior team: Harrison, Allen, Battersby, Oliver, Forsythe, Mawhinney, Moffett, Thompson, Mullen, McLellan, Wilson
Subs: Wallace, Bright, Kernaghan, Patmore, Dupree,

Premier scorer Eoin Boyle

Premier Section – BT Trophy semi-final County Down 1 English Colleges FA 0
Boyle header sends County Down into BT Trophy final

A 24th minute goal from Eoin Boyle earned County Down a 1-nil win against the English Colleges FA at Mullaghacall in Portstewart on Thursday.

Donald Malomo-Paris’ side conceded a penalty as early as the second minute. A slack backpass led to goalkeeper Jack Duffin upending the opposition striker in the box. Duffin however made amends by pulling off a tremendous diving save from the penalty to keep the game scoreless.

Soon after it was County Down on the attack. Michael Doran latched onto Boyle’s sixth minute pass, but Doran’s effort rattled back off the crossbar.

County Down went in front with 24 minutes played. Captain Jimmy Callacher supplied the cross, and Boyle was on hand to bravely head home.

Michael Doran went close with an effort late in the game. Unfortunately for both Shanney Drainey and Doran, both will miss the BT Trophy final after each picked up a yellow card.

Premier team: Duffin, Beattie, Drainey, Haughey, Burns, Callacher, Keenan, Boyle, Cahill, Frazer, Doran
Subs: Buchanan, Gracey, McAuley, Boyd, Butler, Graham, Morgan

Wednesday 30th July 2008 – Day Three at the Milk Cup

Junior Section County Down 2 Donegal Schools 1
Wilson the hero as County Down progress to the Milk Cup semi-finals

County Down made it through to the Milk Cup semi-finals for the third time with a 2-1 victory over Donegal Schools on Wednesday evening at the University in Coleraine.

Junior player Luke Wilson

Michael McLellan kept his tremendous goalscoring run going when he turned in a pinpoint cross from Luke Wilson three minutes short of half-time. That’s three goals so far for him in the competition.

County Down took the foot off the pedal and a series of slack clearances allowed Donegal’s Carl McHugh to equalise just 60 seconds later.

Credit though to Paul Ritchie’s team who regained the lead before the interval. Luke Wilson showed grit and determination before firing an unstoppable shot from all of 25 yards into the top corner.

Fergus McBride and Luke Wilson were particularly impressive throughout the game. While skipper Ben Oliver, Rory Battersby and Rory Mullen formed a formidable barrier in defence.

The only sour note for County Down is that they will be missing midfield terrier Fergus McBride for Thursday’s semi-final against Everton. McBride was shown a second yellow for a late tackle with just four minutes remaining.

Junior team: Harrison, Allen, Battersby, Oliver, Forsythe, Mawhinney, Moffett, McBride, Mullen, McLellan, Wilson
Subs: Wallace, Bright, Kernaghan, Patmore, Thompson, Dupree, Shaw

Premier Section County Down 1 Shamrock Rovers 0
Callacher strike sends Premier squad into BT Trophy semi-finals

County Down recorded a deserved victory against Shamrock Rovers at Roe Mill in Limavady on Wednesday. Captain Jimmy Callacher’s 29th minute strike was enough to earn Donald Malomo-Paris’ side a place in Thursday’s BT Trophy semi-finals.

After four minutes, Eoin Boyle created an opening chance for Liam Graham, but his header went narrowly wide.

Graham should have broken the deadlock with 17 minutes played. The frontman found himself one-on-one with the keeper, but he failed to convert and the game remained scoreless.

With six minutes to the break, County Down scored the decisive goal. Rovers failed to clear from a corner, and Callacher made no mistake.

County Down’s Aaron Burns sent over a tantalising cross in the 48th minute as Malomo –Paris’ charges looked to kill the game off, but the ball evaded both Sean Cahill and Liam Graham.

Shamrock Rovers went on the offensive in the second half. Thankfully for County Down, keeper Gareth Buchanan was in fine form, thwarting the danger on numerous occasions.

Rovers had a man sent off deep into injury time, and County Down progress to the semi-finals where they face the English Colleges FA.

Premier team: Buchanan, Beattie, Drainey, Haughey, Burns, Callacher, Morgan, Boyle, Cahill, Graham, Frazer
Subs: Duffin, Doran, Gracey, McAuley, Boyd, Butler, Keenan

Tuesday 29th July 2008 – Day Two at the Milk Cup

Junior Captain Ben Oliver

Junior Section County Down 1 Plymouth Argyle 1
McLellan on target again as County Down share the spoils with Plymouth Argyle

Michael McLellan made it two goals in as many games at the Milk Cup against a well organised Plymouth Argyle outfit in Portrush on Tuesday.

With 18 minutes played the Pilgrims carved open the County Down defence for the first time in the tournament. Striker Neal Pomfret timed his run to perfection and slid the ball under Shane Harrison.

Junior player Michael McLellan

Goalkeeper Harrison turned provider for the County Down equaliser just two minutes later. His kick out caught the Plymouth defence on their heels, and McLellan bravely stuck his head between the centre-half and advancing keeper to score the equaliser.

County Down were the better team in the second half. Fergus McBride fired wide from a Johnny Kernaghan cross after 47 minutes.

The locals thought they had won it with 11 minutes remaining. Kernaghan’s corner was headed in by Rory Battersby. The referee however ruled Battersby’s effort for an infringement inside the box.

Junior team: Harrison, Allen, Battersby, Oliver, Thompson, Dupree, Moffett, McBride, Kernaghan, McLellan, Patmore
Subs: Wallace, Mullen, Mawhinney, Forsythe, Wilson, Bright

Premier Section County Down 1 Sevilla 0

County Down’s Premier section game against Sevilla at the Ballymena Showgrounds on Tuesday evening was given friendly status. The Spanish arrived in the North West with a squad containing several overage players. The result of the game was registered as a 1-nil win to County Down.

Monday 28th July 2008 – Day One at the Milk Cup

Junior player Michael McLellan

Juniors off to a flyer against Mexicans
County Down 2 Necaxa 0

County Down opened their Milk Cup campaign with a hard fought victory thanks to goals from Michael McLellan and Luke Wilson at Castlerock on Monday morning. McLellan was a constant menace to the visiting defence throughout the game. With 16 minutes played, Necaxa’s Erick Martinez was adjudged to have committed a foul from a corner and the referee pointed to the spot. McLellan slammed the penalty into the top corner to give Paul Ritchie’s side the lead.

Shane Harrison was called into action three minutes later. The big keeper made a fantastic diving save to deny Gerardo Knopp.

Necaxa were unfortunate not to be level at the break. Knopp cut inside only to see his shot rebound back off the post to safety.

The second half was much a more cagey affair. Substitute Luke Wilson wrapped things up with two minutes remaining. Johnny Kernoghan sent over a searching cross from the left wing, and Wilson was on hand to slide the ball home at the back post.

Junior team: Harrison, Moffett, Battersby, Oliver, Allen, Kernoghan, Forsythe, McBride, Mawhinney, Bright, McLellan
Subs: Wallace, Mullen, Wilson, Dupree, Patmore, Thompson, Shaw

Premier captain Jimmy Callacher

Premier team taken to town by Ipswich
County Down 1 Ipswich Town 5

County Down were well beaten by Ipswich Town at the Riada Stadium in Ballymoney on Monday afternoon.

Michael Doran had a chance to open the scoring after seven minutes, but his effort flew over the crossbar. Skipper Jimmy Callacher had the Ipswich keeper beaten in the 23rd minute, unfortunately for County Down, his 25 yard free-kick smashed back off the crossbar. Jack Duffin made two superb saves to keep the game scoreless at the break.

Ipswich went in front soon after the restart. Ronan Murray played in Matt Daniels who slotted home. An injury to Duffin brought Gareth Buchanan into goal. Seb Dunbar doubled the Ipswich lead after some neat passing. Republic of Ireland underage striker Paul Murphy made it 3-nil.

County Down responded almost immediately. Liam Graham was pulled back in the area. Eoin Boyle stepped up to score the resultant penalty.

That was as good as it got for us. Paul Murphy notched a second, and Nathan Ralph completed the scoring with a minute to go.

Premier team: Duffin, Drainey, Burns, Haughey, Butler, Boyle, Frazer, Keenan, Callacher, Doran, Boyd
Subs: Buchanan, Beattie, Morgan, Gracey, McAuley, Graham, Cahill

Tuesday 15th July 2008 – Chairmans Trophy

Former County Down chairman Hugh Bonner presents ‘The Chairman’s Trophy’ to Bobbie Reid. The new award will be presented to the best County Down Junior player at the Milk Cup.

Monday 14th July 2008 – Co-ordinators receive their colours

Chairman Bobbie Reid recently presented trial co-ordinators with County Down jackets in appreciation of their efforts during the selection process for this year’s squads. Pictured are Peter Houston, Gordon Moore, Adrian McGorrian and Bobbie Reid. Missing from the photo are Colin Stanex, Glynn Miskimmin and Dixie Murray.

Sunday 29th June 2008 – Subway fuels Co Down on thier way to the Milk Cup

Frank McKee from SUBWAY, pictured at the recent Milk Cup Draw, presented Victor Leonard Chairman of the Northern Ireland Milk Cup on behalf of the Co Down teams, with a voucher for both teams to enjoy a meal at their local Subway in the run up to the Milk Cup in July.

SUBWAY, which has now opened over 70 stores in Northern Ireland, is a sponsor of the prestigious Northern Ireland Milk Cup which takes place from Monday 28th July to Friday 1st August in the Coleraine, Ballymoney, Limavady and Ballymena areas.

Monday 23rd June 2008 – Final squads announced ahead of 2008 Milk Cup

Both squads travelled to Dublin last weekend and after the series of matches, the managers named their final 18 players for the tournament.

The Junior side played three games against the North Dublin Schoolboy League. They made light work of the Under-15’s in Friday night’s facile 5-0 success. Fergus McBride slotted home a 20th minute penalty after Luke Wilson had been upended in the box. Jordan Patmore doubled the scoring 5 minutes into the second half. Javan Dupree latched onto a long ball from Martin Mawhinney to make it 3-0. Dupree set up Johnny Kernaghan for the fourth. Kernaghan returned the favour near the end of the game – Dupree completing the rout.

 Junior player Darryl Bright calls for the ball

The following day, the Junior squad came from two goals down to draw 2-2 with North Dublin ’s Under-16 side. Two-nil down with just 20 minutes remaining, Dupree’s drilled cross found its way to Luke Wilson who checked inside and fired into the bottom corner. Michael McLellan drew County Down level with a superb solo finish.

The sides met again on Sunday morning with County Down recording an excellent 2-1 victory. Jordan Patmore tapped home Michael McLellan’s cross to open the scoring. A lapse in concentration saw Dublin equalise within a minute. McLellan scored the winner late in the game. The bustling centre forward held off his marker and blasted past the keeper.

The Premier squad were extremely unlucky to lose their two games in Dublin . County Down conceded from a set piece in a 1-0 defeat against Drogheda United’s Under-17’s, who last season won the treble in the south. William Gracey and Michael Doran both struck the woodwork for Down, who deserved at least a draw.

On Sunday afternoon, County Down lost 3-1 against the Republic of Ireland Under 17’s. Again, luck deserted Down who hit the crossbar twice. Ireland took the lead with 27 minutes played, and the score remained that way into the second half. William Frazer rose high to meet Jimmy Callacher’s free-kick. His header however, rebounded back off the bar. The equaliser came in the 65th minute. Eoin Boyle skilfully trapped a high ball, and Liam Graham smashed magnificently into the top corner. With ten minutes to go, a defensive error allowed the Republic to regain the lead. Jimmy Callagher’s quick free-kick then caught the Irish keeper cold, but unfortunately for County Down , the ball skimmed the top of the crossbar. Ireland scored a fortuitous third when a cross deflected in off a Down player with just 3 minutes remaining.

Monday 16th June 2008 – Victories for Junior and Premier Squads

County Down’s Under-15 side lifted the Mourne Cup for the 3rd time on Saturday. Last year’s competition was cancelled due to waterlogged pitches at Crossgar, but the weather at the Kilmore Playing Fields was spot on this time around. The tournament however was marred by a serious injury to a County Tyrone player who had to be taken to hospital. Everyone associated with County Down wishes him a speedy recovery.

Paul Ritchie’s team started the tournament with a 4-1 win over Dundalk S.B.L. A superb early hat-trick from Michael McClellan put us 3 goals up after only 23 minutes. Mark Forsythe added the fourth in the second half to complete a comfortable victory.

County Tyrone were our next opponents. With the game scoreless at half time, manager Ritchie made several tactical changes. This ultimately paid off. McClellan got his name on the scoresheet again. Jordan Patmore notched the second as we ran out 2-nil winners.

Patmore went on to bag three in the last game of the day which saw County Down beat a North Dublin S.B side 5-1. Javan Dupree got the other two goals. All told, this was a good exercise for the County Down management team. Congratulations to all the boys and well done on helping County Down lift the Mourne Cup for a record 3rd time. Many thanks to the three travelling teams for making the competition such a success.

The Premier team’s preparation continued on Saturday at Millbridge, Ballynahinch. Donald Malomo-Paris’ charges beat Lisburn Distillery Under-18’s 5-nil. However the match was not as one-sided as the scoreline suggests as the Whites struck the woodwork on two occasions. Michael Doran scored twice, Aaron Boyd, Daniel Taggart and an own goal took the game out of Distillery’s reach.

This weekend, both squads travel to Dublin for a pre-tournament residential. Good luck.

Friday 30th May 2008 – Venues for fixtures announced

PREMIER SECTION

Monday 28th July 2008, 3.30 pm
Co. Down v Ipswich Town – Riada Stadium (2), Ballymoney

Tuesday 29th July 2008, 7.00 pm
Co. Down v Sevilla – Showgrounds, Ballymena

JUNIOR SECTION

Monday 28th July 2008, 1.30 pm
Co. Down v Necaxa – Castlerock

Tuesday 29th July 2008, 1.30 pm
Co. Down v Plymouth – Argyle Parker Avenue, Portrush

Tuesaday 27th May 2008 – Parents Night

There was a packed house at the Ballynahinch Community Centre for the Parents Information night. Northern Ireland Under-21 goalkeeper Trevor Carson, who twice played for County Down at the Milk Cup, was the special guest. Dr Sharon Madigan represented the Dairy Council, and spoke to parents and players about the importance of nutrition in sport. The County Down Committee would like to thank the Dairy Council for providing a superb hot food buffet at the event.

Sunday 25th May 2008 – O’Neills climb on board in 2 year kit deal

County Down have paired up with local kit supplier O’Neills for the 2008 and 2009 Northern Ireland Milk Cup campaigns. The Premier squad was first to take delivery of the new training kit at the Kilmore Playing Fields in Crossgar. Kit manager Damian McCorry commented, ”we’re delighted with the finished article. The quality and design of the new clothing will make us the envy of other teams at the tournament . The gear not only looks good but feels great”.

Thursday 22nd May 2008 – Junior and Premier squads named

The waiting is over! After exhaustive trials throughout the county which started at Easter, both managers have selected their panels up to the pre-tournament residential weekend which takes place in Dublin from 20th to 22nd June. After Dublin, both panels must be cut to the pre-requisite 18 players for the Milk Cup proper.

2008 Junior Panel (24 players)

Goalkeepers
Neil Edgar, Dundonald; Shane Harrison, Annalong; Andrew Wallace, Donaghadee.

Defenders
Adam Allen, Belfast; Rory Battersby, Banbridge; Kurtis Bell, Bangor; Matthew Moffett, Banbridge; Rory Mullen, Downpatrick; Adam Neale, Ballynahinch; Ben Oliver, Dromore; Reece Shaw, Belfast; Paddy Thompson, Belfast.

Midfielders
Darryl Bright, Belfast; Mark Forsythe, Belfast; Curtis Gallacher, Belfast; Johnny Kernaghan, Castlewellan; Martin Mawhinney, Bangor; Fergus McBride, Belfast; Sean Morgan, Carryduff.

Forwards
Javan Dupree, Carryduff; Michael McLellan, Belfast; Jordan Patmore, Saintfield; Luke Wilson, Belfast; Ross Wright, Ballyhalbert.

2008 Premier Panel (23 players)

Goalkeepers
Gareth Buchanan, Gilford; Jack Duffin, Belfast; Luke Melvin, Bangor.

Defenders
Gareth Beattie, Holywood; Aaron Burns, Banbridge; Warren Butler, Dundonald; Shannon Drainey, Gilford; William Frazer, Banbridge; Mark Haughey, Newry; Jamie Turner, Bangor.

Midfielders
Ethan Boylan, Bangor; Daniel Burns, Newcastle; Jimmy Callacher, Belfast; Aaron Keenan, Dundonald; Patrick McCauley, Belfast; Daniel Morgan, Killyleagh; Daniel Taggart, Downpatrick.

Forwards
Aaron Boyd, Newtownards; Eoin Boyle, Downpatrick; Sean Cahill, Downpatrick; Michael Doran, Newtownards; William Gracey, Belfast; Liam Graham, Downpatrick.

Wednesday 14th May 2008 – Milk Cup Draw

It’s Necaxa for the U-15’s! And Sevilla for the U-17’s!

The draw for the 26th Milk Cup took place in W5 at the Odyssey, Belfast , on Tuesday 13th May. Chelsea manager Avram Grant was the special guest.

The Junior squad fixtures are as follows:

Monday 28th July: County Down v Necaxa ( Mexico )
Tuesday 29th July: County Down v Plymouth Argyle

The Premier squad fixtures are as follows:

Monday 28th July: County Down v Ipswich Town
Tuesday 29th July: County Down v Sevilla ( Spain )

The Junior squad take on Necaxa on Monday 28th July. Necaxa’s senior side play in the Mexican Premier Division and came 3rd in the FIFA World Club Championship in January 2000. The next day, Tuesday 29th July, we face English Championship side Plymouth Argyle. Our manager Paul Ritchie is looking forward to pitting his wits against both clubs. “It’s an interesting draw for us. I think Necaxa will be full of running, and like most South American outfits, I expect them to play a passing game. Plymouth Argyle, being a Championship side will be a different prospect altogether. As ever, we won’t be afraid of either club. We will be going to the competition full of confidence and ultimately looking to progress to the latter stages of the Milk Cup”.

Our Premier squad start their campaign on Monday 28th July against Championship side Ipswich Town . On Tuesday 29th July, County Down take on Milk Cup debutants Sevilla from La Liga. The Spanish club, who won the UEFA Cup in 2006, and retained the trophy in 2007, became only the second team to successfully defend the title in the history of the competition. Donald Malomo-Paris, the new man in charge of the squad, can’t wait to get his first taste of Milk Cup action. “I think we will adopt different approaches to the opening games. Our style of play will be loosely similar to that of Ipswich – and I expect a tough game when the two teams meet. Sevilla on the other hand will more than likely have a side packed with the usual Spanish flamboyance. We definitely feel we have the ability to compete with both”.

The 2008 Northern Ireland Milk Cup takes place from Monday 28 July to Friday 1 August.

Thursday 8th May 2008 – Zonal squads in place ahead of final trial matches

The squads from East, North and South Down have been assembled ahead of the final round of trial games which will take place at the Billy Neill Stadium from Tuesday 13th May onwards. The zone teams will play against each other in matches that will determine the Junior and Premier panels ahead of the 2008 Milk Cup. Any players involved in the underage Northern Ireland international teams wishing to be considered for County Down (boys who have yet to trial), should contact their respective trial co-ordinator immediately.

Important dates for your diary:

Tuesday 13th May to Tuesday 20th May – Zonal trials at Billy Neill Stadium (situated between Comber and Dundonald).
Tuesday 13th May – The draw for the 2008 Milk Cup takes place at W5 in the Odyssey Arena, Belfast.
Tuesday 20th May – Final trials and panels announced thereafter.
Tuesday 27th May – Parents Night at Ballynahinch Leisure Centre. Special guest for the evening will be Sunderland and Northern Ireland Under-21 goalkeeper Trevor Carson who twice played for County Down at the tournament. Carson captained Northern Ireland in the Elite Final of last year’s Milk Cup.
Saturday 14th June – Mourne Cup tournament (Juniors).
Friday 20th June to Sunday 22nd June – Dublin pre-tournament weekend.
Sunday 27th July – Milk Cup report date – Lodge Hotel, Coleraine.
Monday 28th July to Friday 1st August – Northern Ireland Milk Cup tournament.

Monday 14th April 2008 – Milk Cup zonal trials underway

The selection process for identifying County Down’s finest players for the 2008 Milk Cup has started. There’s still time for players to be included in one of the trials for either the Junior (players born on or after 1 January 1993), or Premier (players born on or after 1 January 1991), age groups. If you feel that you have the talent to represent County Down at this year’s Milk Cup, be sure to contact your respective trial co-ordinator.

North Down
This area covers the whole of Belfast, south of the Lagan and the Ards Peninsula including Bangor & Holywood. Trial co-ordinator for the Junior team is Colin Stanex (07718 983589). The Premier team co-ordinator is Marc Wilson (07912 484344).

South Down
This area takes in Newry, Warrenpoint, Kilkeel, Banbridge, Rathfriland and Dromara. Trial co-ordinator for the Junior squad is Linda McAdam (call or text 07814 127573). Damian McCorry (07740 909603) will co-ordinate trials for the Premier team.

East Down
East Down covers the Annahilt, Ballynahinch, Carryduff, Downpatrick, Newcastle area and takes in Killyleagh and Comber. Trial co-ordinators for the Junior side are Ronnie Cromie (07788 441342) and Barry Greene ( ). Dixie Murray is the Premier squad co-ordinator (07788 651261).

Once the Zonal panels have been selected, they will play off against each other in front of the Junior and Premier Management.

Sunday 9th March 2008 – Selection begins ahead of 2008 Milk Cup

The process of picking the finest players for the County Down Junior and Premier squads for the upcoming Northern Ireland Milk Cup is about to commence.

If you are a coach or parent and you know of a player who has the ability to represent County Down at the world-renowned Milk Cup tournament, which takes place from 28 July to 1 August 2008, make sure to contact one of the trial co-ordinators with details of name, date of birth, contact number, position played and club/school.

The Junior squad (Under 15’s) is managed by Paul Ritchie, and will be made up of boys born on or after 1 January 1993. Boys born on or after 1 January 1991 are eligible for the Premier squad (Under 17’s), managed by the newly appointed Donald Malomo-Paris.

Trials for both age groups will be split into three Zones as follows:-

North Down
This area covers the whole of Belfast, south of the Lagan and the Ards Peninsula including Bangor & Holywood. Trial co-ordinator for the Junior team is Colin Stanex (07718 983589). The Premier team co-ordinator is Marc Wilson (07912 484344).

South Down
This area takes in Newry, Warrenpoint, Kilkeel, Banbridge, Rathfriland and Dromara. Trial co-ordinator for the Junior squad is Linda McAdam (call or text 07814 127573). Damian McCorry (07740 909603) will co-ordinate trials for the Premier team.

East Down
East Down covers the Annahilt, Ballynahinch, Carryduff, Downpatrick, Newcastle area and takes in Killyleagh and Comber. Trial co-ordinators for the Junior side are Ronnie Cromie (07788 441342) and Barry Greene ( ). Dixie Murray is the Premier squad co-ordinator (07788 651261).

Once the Zones have selected their respective panels they will play off against each other in front of the Junior and Premier Management. You can email the County Down Milk Cup committee directly at info@downsupercupni.com.

Friday 22nd February 2008 – Paris appointment for our under-17’s

Donald Malomo-Paris has been appointed the new manager of the Premier team ahead of the upcoming Northern Ireland Milk Cup. Malomo-Paris, who is also first-team fitness coach at Lisburn Distillery, is delighted to have secured the position and is very much looking forward to the challenge. “It’s a world-class competition and like so many other people, I have always admired it. I can’t wait to get involved with County Down and to build on the success of my predecessor Damian McCorry”. Donald, who originally hails from Nigeria, has a wealth of coaching experience and holds the coveted UEFA Pro licence. He will be assisted by former Cliftonville and Glenavon goalkeeper Paul Rice. Marc Wilson will act as kitman, while Katie Lannon comes on board as physio.

The management of the Junior (under 15) squad remains the same. Paul Ritchie, who in 2006 took us to the semi-finals of the competition, stays at the helm. Paul will continue to be ably assisted by Kyle Spiers.

The Northern Ireland Milk Cup takes place from Monday 28 July to Friday 1 August 2008. Players born on or after 1st January 1993 are eligible for the Junior age group. For the Premier Section, players need to be born on or after 1st January 1991. Trials for the County Down Junior and Premier squads start after Easter.

Friday 8th February 2008 – Audi sponsorship for 2008

Pictured below is Mr. Richard Eakin, Managing Director of Isaac Agnew Audi Belfast, presenting County Down Junior Team Manager, Paul Ritchie, with new bench coats for the 2008 Milk Cup.

Thursday 10th January 2008 – Dates for Milk Cup Week

This years Northern Ireland Milk Cup 2008 26th Edition Tournament will take place between Monday 28th July to Friday 1st August 2008.

The Age Groups for the tournament are as follows:

Junior Section: Players born on or after 1st January 1993

Premier Section: Players born on or after 1st January 1991

Monday 12th November 2007 – Hugh Bonner steps down

Hugh has stepped down after 15 years involvement with the County Down Milk Cup set up. Hugh was appointed County Down’s first ever chairman when the county structure of the Northern Ireland Milk Cup was invoked in 1992. He remained as Chairman until 2004, when he took up the role of Public Relations Officer.

At a recent function at the Slieve Donard Hotel in Newcastle, current County Down Chairman Bobbie Reid marked Hugh’s service by presenting him with the Dunluce Trophy won by the Under-14 side in the 2007 competition.

The Chairman paid tribute to Hugh’s dedication since the inception of the county teams. “Hugh’s impact on the County Down Milk Cup scene has been immense. He has been involved right from the word go and a lot of our success in recent years was aided by his hard work. Last year, the Junior team won the Dunluce Trophy for the first time. Giving Hugh the trophy to keep goes some way to repaying his unstinting service to County Down.”

County Down Milk Cup Chairman Bobbie Reid (left) and Treasurer John Hamilton (right) pictured with sponsors David Gilmore and Roy Ferguson

Members of the County Down Milk Cup Committee present Hugh Bonner with The Dunluce Trophy. Back row from left: Ronnie Cromie, Trevor McAdam, Linda McAdam, Jeremy Bell, David Taylor. Front row from left: Paul Ritchie, John Hamilton, Bobbie Reid (Chairman), Hugh Bonner, Damian McCorry

Barry Greene takes over from Hugh as County Down PRO.

The 2008 Milk Cup competition takes place Monday 28 July to Friday 1 August. Trials for the County Down teams will commence after Easter 2008.