2012 Tournament

Sunday 29th July 2012 – Reid steps down after successful Milk Cup campaign

County Down Chairman Bobbie Reid has called time on his 20 year involvement with the Northern Ireland Milk Cup. Speaking at the players’ presentation event at the Lodge Hotel in Coleraine at the conclusion of the 30th Anniversary tournament, Reid said that he was “passing on the baton to the next generation.”

Reid came on board to oversee the kit in 1993, under the management of the late Jim McCloskey. He progressed through the ranks, managing the Junior squad alongside Ronnie Cromie from 2000.

Four years later, he took on the role of Chairman following the departure of Hugh Bonnar.

“It has been an absolute pleasure. We’ve had some amazing times down the years, particularly in reaching the Milk Cup semi-finals,” he said.

“The players have been and remain the focal point of the organisation. We’ve set out to provide every individual with the best coaching available and they’ve responded year after year.”

Reid continued by reflecting on two decades with County Down.

“I’ve been immensely proud to be Chairman and would like to thank the hard working members of the committee, coaching and backroom staff for making my Milk Cup journey so enjoyable. I wish my successor, whoever he or she may be, every success for the future,” he added.

Thursday 26th July 2012 – Milk Cup glory for Down players

County Down didn’t just land team silverware on Day 5 of the Milk Cup. To cap off a fine week, Conor McMenamin and Nicholas Turkington won the County Player of the Tournament in the Premier and Junior sections respectively – named by the organisers of the competition. McMenamin and Turkington were also amongst the awards at the County Down Prizegiving Ceremony on Thursday afternoon at the Lodge Hotel in Coleraine.

Junior Golden Boot – Nicholas Turkington
County Down Junior Player of the Tournament – Callum Byers
Chairman’s Cup – Jonathan Walsh

Premier Golden Boot – Conor McMenamin
County Down Premier Player of the Tournament – Jamie Sharvin
McCloskey Cup – Nathan McAleese

Thursday 26th July 2012 – Thrilling win for Down in Premier Vase final

Premier Section Vase Final: County Down 3 CSKA Moscow 3 (County Down won 4-2 on penalties) @ Rugby Avenue, Coleraine.

County Down won an absorbing contest against CSKA Moscow at Rugby Avenue on penalties after the game had ended 3-3 in normal time.

After a scoreless opening half, both teams pressed for an opener.

Islam Mashukov’s header three minutes after the restart brought a fine save from Craig Barnett.

Barnett however couldn’t prevent Moscow from scoring after 40 minutes. Rusian Gordienko flicked on for Nikita Grishin to convert at the back post.

CSKA then had two players sent off in quick succession. Gordienko was shown a straight red for stamping, and Petr Yansin followed suit for using foul and abusive language.

Jamie Sharvin set up County Down’s equaliser with 20 minutes remaining. His left wing cross was inch-perfect for Conor McMenamin to head past Okunev.

Nine-man CSKA took an unlikely lead in freak circumstances with 55 minutes played. Alexsei Pavlishin’s shot hit the unfortunate Karl Devine and the ball looped over Barnett into the net.

Moscow then scored again. Svyatoslav Georgiesky took advantage of some hesitant defending to further the lead with eight minutes to play.

County Down refused to accept defeat. TJ Murray volleyed home to set up a tense finish.

Four minutes into stoppage time, McMenamin was hauled down inside the area with a penalty. McMenamin stepped up and sent Okunev the wrong way to take the game to a penalty shootout.

Mashukov hit the Down post and Hazard made a superb stop from Pavel Kotov. Ethan Knipe, Conor McMenamin and Padraig McGrath scored for Down. Patrick Bradley then kept his cool to win it with the decisive spot-kick.

Team: Barnett, Shields, Hunsdale, McGrath, McBride, Sharvin, Devine, Coffey, McAleese, Murray, McMenami
Subs: Salatka, Kane, Harwood, McClelland, Knipe, Mallen, Bradley.


The Premier squad celebrate after beating CSKA Moscow on penalties


Northern Ireland Milk Cup County Player of the Tournament Conor McMenamin with the Premier Vase

Thursday 26th July 2012 – Turkington steers hungry Down to Plate success

Junior Section Plate Final: County Down 4 Dundalk SL 1 @ Riada Stadium, Ballymoney.

Nicholas Turkington’s double inspired County Down to a comfortable 4-1 win over Dundalk Schoolboys League in the NIMC Plate Final at a sun-drenched Riada Stadium on Thursday.

As well as taking the Man of the Match award, the competition organisers then named Turkington as the County Player of the Tournament.

County Down settled into the match from the first whistle. Dylan Power sent over a 2nd minute cross in from the right flank. Turkington’s shot from the edge of the 18 yard box was saved by the Dundalk keeper Matthew Corcoran.

With five minutes played Matthew Dempster flashed an effort just wide as County Down dominated the early stages.

County Down took the lead on the stroke of half-time. Johnston nipped in ahead of Niall Sharkey and side-footed home from the left.

Dundalk almost equalised after 33 minutes. Sherif Ayaode’s shot was goal-bound until Matthew Dempster arrived to make a clearance off the line.

Down furthered their advantage in fortuitous circumstances four minutes later. Corcoran’s attempted clearance struck Lee Ward and ricocheted into the net.

To their credit, Dundalk responded immediately. Ryan Rooney’s shot hit Hazard’s post and Dylan O’Hanlon followed up to convert the rebound.

County Down scored again with six minutes remaining. Turkington’s 35 yard free-kick was well-struck and proved too hot for Corcoran to handle.

Turkington got his second of the match in the closing stages, firing low and hard into the bottom corner to complete a resounding County Down victory.

Team: Hazard, McAnespie, Brownlee, Byers, Power, Martyn, Dempster, Turkington, Ward, Johnston, Salley.
Subs: Walsh, Noble-Walker, Gray, Drylie, Tate, McGovern.


County Down skipper Callum Byers with the Junior Plate


Luke McAnespie attempts to go past Alan Dunne


The County Down Junior squad and backroom staff after the 4-1 win over Dundalk SL

Wednesday 25th July 2012 – McMenamin at the double as Down advance to face CSKA in Vase Final

Premier Section: County Down 3 County Londonderry 1 @ Parker Avenue, Portrush

Conor McMenamin’s double and another superb strike from Jamie Sharvin ensured County Down’s progression to the Vase Final at the expense of County Londonderry.

Londonderry midfielder Mikhail Kennedy had an 11th minute shot easily saved by Craig Barnett.

At the other end, Nathan McAleese sent his effort high and over the Londonderry crossbar.

Conor McMenamin stung the hands of the Londonderry keeper Andrew Finaly after 18 minutes.

McMenamin then opened the scoring two minutes later, turning neatly past his marker before side-footing low into the far corner.

A long ball from the back led to Londonderry’s equaliser with four minutes of first-half play remaining. Kennedy chested the ball down to Jack Higgins who buried the ball past Barnett from 20 yards.

A phenomenal Jamie Sharvin strike three minutes after the restart restored Down’s lead. The ball ran to Sharvin 20 yards from goal and his snap-shot rifled into the top corner of the Londonderry net.

McMenamin had an opportunity to further the County Down lead with 15 minutes to go but sent his shot wide of goal.

Five minutes later, Londonderry were reduced to ten men. Joel Bradley was sent off for an over-zealous challenge on Sharvin on the half-way line.

McMenamin wrapped up the match in the last minute. His initial lob was tipped onto the bar by Finaly, and McMenamin followed up for his second of the afternoon.

Team: Barnett, Hunsdale, Kane, McBride, Harwood, Sharvin, McAleese, Knipe, Murray, Bradley, McMenamin
Subs: Salatka, McGrath, Devine, McClelland, Mallen, Coffey


Craig Barnett clears his lines against County Londonderry


Conor McMenamin shields the ball from Jack Higgins

Wednesday 25th July 2012 – Down Juniors through to Plate final

Junior Section: County Down 1 CSKA Moscow 1 (County Down won 4-2 on penalties) @ Broughshane.

County Down beat CSKA 4-2 on penalties in the NIMC Plate semi-final at Broughshane on Wednesday afternoon.

Chances were at a premium in the opening stages. Derek Austin- Cornelius steered a 10th minute effort wide as CSKA began to exert some control.

CSKA Moscow went ahead two minutes later. Austin-Cornelius picked up the ball 30 yards from goal and smashed a sweet shot into the roof of the County Down goal past Hazard.

Midway through the opening half, Matthew Dempster cut inside from the right but his left foot shot was straight at Georgy Alberov.

County Down were fortunate not to concede a second goal with five minutes of the first half remaining. Andrey Zorin let fly from 30 yards and his effort hit the top of Hazard’s bar.

Michael Johnston, Charlie Martyn and Jody McGovern were introduced at the break by County Down, who equalised after 32 minutes. Nicholas Turkington bent an exquisite free kick from all of 30 yards into the top corner of the CSKA net.

Turkington almost gave county Down a 39th minute lead. Johnston’s shot was blocked by Roman Farafonov. The ball ran to Turkington who sidefooted wide from inside the area with the goal at his mercy.

Jody McGovern went close to winning it for County Down, sending a right foot half-volley narrowly past the far post with seven minutes to play.

Johnston, Turkington and Salley scored for County Down in the penalty shootout. Conor Hazard made two excellent saves from Zorin and Artem Yuran. Dalton Tate sent the CSKA keeper the wrong way to seal County Down’s place in the Plate final.

Team: Hazard, McAnespie, Noble-Walker, Byers, Gray, Tate, Drylie, Dempster, Turkington, Ward, Salley.
Subs: Martyn, Power, Johnston, McGovern, Brownlee.


County Down’s players run to congratulate Dalton Tate after he scored the winning penalty


Conor Hazard made two exceptional saves in the penalty shootout

Tuesday 24th July 2012 – Murray magic has Revo in a spin

Premier Section: County Down 3 Revo Express 1 @ Rugby Avenue, Coleraine.

TJ Murray hit a brilliant hat-trick as County Down’s Premier side came from a goal down to beat their Norwegian opponents.

With a minute played, Conor McMenamin rattled the Revo crossbar as Down signalled their intent early on.

The Norweigans took an unexpected lead three minutes later when Magnus Hjorland took Craig Barnett by surprise with a long range free-kick.

McMenamin brought a good save from Revo keeper Pal-Andre Johannesen after ten minutes as Down pressed for an equaliser.

The County Down pressure continued and midway through the opening half McMenamin picked out TJ Murray who sent his header agonisingly wide of the far post.

Down’s equaliser arrived on the stroke of half-time. The alert McMenamin robbed Moen, before teeing up Murray to slide past Johannesen and into the corner.

Jamie Sharvin tried his luck three minutes into the second-half, whizzing a left foot shot just over.

Revo very nearly regained the lead after 45 minutes. Jonas Christensen struck the outside of Barnett’s front post.

Down conjured up a fantastic goal to go in front for the first time two minutes later. A dropping ball fell to Murray who smashed a half-volley into the corner.

Murray got his third with 18 minutes remaining. McMenamin crossed from the left and Murray volleyed home from six yards.

Padraig McGrath flashed a volley over the Revo Express crossbar in the closing stages as County Down cantered to victory.

Team: Barnett, Shields, McGrath, Hunsdale, Harwood, Sharvin, Devine, McMenamin, Murray, Knipe, Mallen.
Subs: Salatka, Kane, Coffey, McClelland, McAleese, Bradley


Ethan Knipe, Padraig McGrath and Jamie Sharvin chase Revo midfielder Jonas Christensen


Hat-trick hero TJ Murray

Tuesday 24th July 2012 – Down Juniors beaten on Day 3

Junior Section: County Down 0 Queen of the South 2 @ Roe Mill, Limavady.

Queen of the South ended County Down’s faint hopes of progressing to the Milk Cup proper at Roe Mill on Tuesday afternoon.

The locals made a positive start despite the heavy conditions. Good work down the right flank by Jody McGovern after eight minutes led to an opening for Nicholas Turkington whose effort sailed over the target.

County Down had to re-jig their formation when striker James Coffey was forced off with a thigh injury, to be replaced by Adam Salley.

Turkington had another half-chance two minutes later. His shot however was deflected for a corner.

Queen of the South had their first sight of goal after 22 minutes. Alastair Berry cut in from the left flank, forcing Conor Hazard into a smart save at his near post.

Matthew Dempster replaced Ryan Noble-Walker at half-time and made an instant impact – shooting narrowly over from just outside the box.

County Down should have opened the scoring after 37 minutes. Dylan Power picked out Turkington who couldn’t make the most of Down’s best opportunity, and the chance went begging.

Queen of the South took full advantage by scoring immediately after. Berry crossed from the right for Dean Brotherston to send a bullet header past Hazard.

Both sides traded long-range efforts until Queen of the South sealed the points with a second goal with a minute of normal time to play. Full-back Richard Murray sent a speculative delivery into the area which Down keeper Hazard uncharacteristically misjudged. The ball ending up in the County Down net.

Team: Hazard, Martyn, Brownlee, Noble-Walker, Byers, Power, McGovern, Drylie, Turkington, Coffey, Johnston.
Subs: Walsh, Dempster, Tate, Gray, McAnespie, Salley, Ward.

Monday 23rd July 2012 – Clough treble sinks Down

Premier Section: County Down 1 Bolton Wanderers 4 @ Showgrounds, Coleraine.

Bolton frontman Zach Clough’s superb hat-trick helped Wanderers to three points against a battling County Down outfit at the Coleraine Showgrounds on Monday afternoon.

Wanderers showed their intent from the first whistle. Tom Walker picked out Zach Clough two minutes into the game. Clough sent his six-yard header narrowly wide.

Saul Hamer got his first sight of goal after 13 minutes. Down stopper Marcel Salatka was equal to Hamer’s low drive.

County Down’s resistance lasted all of 18 minutes. Salatka misjudged Sam Bailie’s long throw and Robert Holding was left with the simple task of tapping home.

The local lads got back in the game on 26 minutes. Stuart Mallen won a free-kick 30 yards from goal. Enter Jamie Sharvin, who lit up the Showgrounds with an exquisite equaliser. His shot dipping over Bolton keeper Jan Sievers and into the top corner of the net.

Down almost took the lead two minutes after the restart. Padraig McGrath’s searching ball caught out Sievers. However Mallen’s effort was tame and was easily cleared off the line by Holding.

Wanderers started to dictate the pace and regained the lead six minutes later. The alert Clough made the most of a defensive mix-up, rounding keeper Salatka to score.

With five minutes to play, Bolton scored again. Clough nipped in ahead of the Down keeper to notch his second.

Clough then grabbed his hat-trick in stoppage time with an instinctive finish into the roof of the County Down net.

Team: Salatka, Shields, McGrath, McBride, Hunsdale, Knipe, Sharvin, McAleese, Mallen, McMenamin, Murray.
Subs: Barnett, McClelland, Kane, Coffey, Bradley, Harwood, Devine.


County Down’s Premier team before their 4-1 defeat to Bolton


Jamie Sharvin (right) reels away after scoring the equaliser


Jamie Sharvin is mobbed after scoring from a sensational free-kick

Monday 23rd July 2012 – Heroic comeback earns draw for Down

Junior Section: County Down 3 North Dublin Schoolboys League @ Rugby Avenue, Coleraine.

North Dublin Schools and County Down treated the Rugby Avenue crowd to a six-goal thriller on Matchday 2 at the NI Milk Cup.

County Down trailed 3-nil with just 20 minutes to play, but managed three late goals to take their first point of the competition.

Down manager Paul Ritchie made seven changes after Saturday’s narrow 2-1 defeat against holders Everton.

North Dublin went ahead against the run of play after 13 minutes. A hopeful throughball made its’ way into the heart of Down’s defence to Andrew Gorman, who powerfully dispatched past Jonathon Walsh.

With ten minutes of the first half remaining, Down’s Nicholas Turkington was teed up by Adam Salley. Turkington cut inside, but his shot was easily gathered by Lee Doyle.

Down conceded a second goal two minutes later when Shane Darcy tried an audacious free-kick from 40 yards. Keeper Walsh couldn’t keep it out, the ball slipping through his grasp in the wet conditions.

Ryan Noble-Walker, James Coffey and keeper Conor Hazard were introduced at the break as Down looked to claw back the deficit.

Substitute Matthew Dempster brought a fine save from Doyle early in the second half. That worked to spur on North Dublin who went further in front. Sean Doyle’s precision cross from the right found Gorman, who finished in style.

County Down responded with a goal of their own midway through the second period. Doyle failed to hold the ball at the near post leaving Turkington with the simplest of tap-ins.

With three minutes remaining, Adam Salley smashed the North Dublin bar with a driven shot from the edge of the area. Down sensed a second goal.

Striker Michael Johnston set up a grandstand finish moments later, tucking home a loose ball from 12 yards.

County Down then won a penalty deep into stoppage time when Adam Clarke handled inside the box. Nicholas Turkington stepped up and sent Doyle the wrong way – for his second goal of the game.

Team: Walsh, McAnespie, Byers, Brownlee, Gray, Tate, McGovern, Ward, Turkington, Johnston, Salley.
Subs: Hazard, Martyn, Noble-Walker, Power, Dempster, Drylie, Coffey.


The County Down Junior team that drew 3-3 with North Dublin Schools


Nicholas Turkington slots home a stoppage-time penalty to earn County Down a 3-3 draw


Nicholas Turkington leads the celebrations after his late leveller

Saturday 21st July 2012 – Down make their point against Etoile

Premier Section: County Down 1 Etoile Lusitana 1 @ Parkway, Comber.

A Conor McMenamin strike helped County Down to an excellent draw againt 2010 winners Etoile Lusitana in their opening Milk Cup match at Parkway in Comber on Saturday.

Jamie Sharvin and TJ Murray tested Etoile keeper Khadime Ndiaye in the opening five minutes as Down sounded out their opponents.

Midway through the opening half, Abdouaye Daffe’s goal-bound header was easily gathered by Down custodian Craig Barnett.

The local lads took a 25th minute lead thanks to some fine closing down. A mix-up between Ndiaye and Eliezer Correia Ca in the Senegalese backline gave Conor McMenamin a sight of goal. McMenamin showed cool composure in slotting the ball into the bottom corner.

Down went close to increasing their advantage five minutes into the second half. Ndiaye saved theatrically from McMenamin’s 20-yard free-kick.

Etoile responded with a great individual Sidibouyeu Badiane effort. Barnett produced a finger-tip save to maintain the County Down lead.

The visitors levelled with 28 minutes remaining. Daffe turned his marker on the edge of the box before smashing past Barnett.

With an hour gone and Down beginning to tire, Etoile almost went in front. Daffe chested down to Baba Sow Basse whose half-volley clipped the top of the bar.

Basse wasn’t finished there. With three minutes remaining, his left foot volley brought another fine save from Barnett – who made sure County Down held on for a magnificent draw.

Team: Barnett, Shields, Hunsdale, McGrath, Knipe, McBride, Sharvin, Devine, Coffey, McMenamin, Murray.
Subs: Salatka, McClelland, Kane, McAleese, Mallon, Bradley, Harwood.


The County Down Premier side that earned a 1-1 draw with Etoile Lusitana


Conor McMenamin gave County Down the lead against Etoile


County Down’s Gary McBride with the captain of Etoile and match officia

County Down Milk Cup chairman Bobbie Reid presents Comber Rec chairman David Brown with a momento of appreciation for hosting Down’s opening fixtures on Saturday

Saturday 21st July 2012 – Holders edge past County Down

Junior Section: County Down 1 Everton 2 @ Parkway, Comber.

County Down opened up their Milk Cup campaign with an agonising 2-1 defeat to holders Everton at Parkway in Comber on Saturday.

Down led through Michael Johnston, but conceded twice in the closing stages.

Conor Hazard showed a safe pair of hands three minutes into the match, saving a 20-yard shot from Everton’s Ryan Ledson.

The locals went close to scoring five minutes later. Midfielder Matthew Dempster tried his luck from long range. With Everton keeper James Talbot beaten, the ball whizzed just over.

With ten minutes to go until half-time Hazard made a smart save from Ledson, diving low to his left.

County Down were rejuvenated at the break. Michael Johnston very nearly opened the scoring after 38 minutes. Played in by James Coffey, Johnston’s shot came back off the foot of the Everton post.

Johnston wasn’t to be denied however. Toffees’ keeper Talbot misplaced his pass and Johnston buried the ball into the corner to give Down a deserved lead.

Everton equalised with a well-worked breakaway goal eight minutes later. ;Left-back Charlie Edge crossed for Jon Joe Kenny to head home at the back post.

The visitors scored the winner with nine minutes to go. Liam Walsh’s precise pass found George Newell, who slotted into the bottom corner past Hazard.

County Down team: Hazard, Tate, Martyn, Noble-Walker, Byers, Power, Dempster, Drylie, Turkington, Coffey, Johnston.
Subs: Walsh, Brownlee, Gray, McAnespie, McGovern, Salley, Ward.


The County Down Junior team that lost 2-1 to Everton at Parkway in Comber


Callum Byers with the Everton skipper and match officials


Goalscorer Michael Johnston looks on as time runs out for County Down against Everton

Friday 20th July 2012 – Colin flies in to aid County Down campaign

Colin Nelson of CN JOINERY, Ballynahinch, presents tracksuits to the County Down Junior squad in advance of the 30th Northern Ireland Milk Cup.

Tuesday 17th July 2012 – County Down kitted out for success

Yvonne Jackson of Shoefair Sports, Banbridge, presents playing kit to County Down players Johnathan Walsh, Adam Salley, Luke McAnespie and Stuart Mallen. Also included is Peter Houston, Premier squad coach. The 30th Anniversary Northern Ireland Milk Cup tournament starts on Saturday, 21st July with County Down’s Juniors hosting Everton at Parkway in Comber at 3pm. Down’s Premier team play Senegalese outfit Etoile Lusitana at the same venue, with a 5pm kick-off.

Wednesday 4th July 2012 – County Down teams primed and ready for 30th anniversary Milk Cup competition

The Premier and Junior squads from County Down are nearing the end of their preparations ahead of the Northern Ireland Milk Cup that will take place from 21st to 26th July 2012. The panels have recently been trimmed to the pre-requisite 18 players for the tournament, following a pre-competition tournament in Dublin.

County Down’s Juniors kick-off the competition against multiple-winners Everton, in what is sure to be a terrific opening challenge at Parkway in Comber on Saturday, 21st July. Later that same day, the County Down Premier team go head-to-head with Etoile Lusitana from Senegal – champions in 2010. Both squads then depart for the North Coast for the remainder of the Milk Cup. The official opening ceremony takes place on Sunday, 22nd July, with the tournament concluding on Thursday, 26th July, in advance of the start of the London Olympics.

Multi-Match Tickets for the Northern Ireland Milk Cup are currently on sale. The tickets, available directly through the website at www.nimilkcup.org, enable fans to gain access to all the matches at seven enclosed venues for a flat fee, and include access to Finals Night at Ballymena Showgrounds. The Adult tickets are priced at £25 and Youth (Under 16) tickets are £10.


Chairman Bobbie Reid and Nicola Houston of Shoefair Sports, Banbridge with the County Down Junior squad. Also included is manager, Paul Ritchie, and coach, Kyle Spiers.

Junior squad

  1. Callum Byers (Dundonald),
  2. Dalton Tate (Ballynahinch),
  3. Andrew Drylie (Lisburn),
  4. Lee Ward (Castlewellan),
  5. Conor Hazard (Downpatrick),
  6. Luke McAnespie (Banbridge),
  7. Adam Salley (Banbridge),
  8. Jody McGovern (Newry),
  9. Jonathan Walsh (Dromore),
  10. Dylan Power (Newry),
  11. Nicholas Turkington (Carryduff),
  12. Charlie Martyn (Helen’s Bay),
  13. James Coffey (Cloughey),
  14. Matthew Dempster (Ballywalter),
  15. Thomas Brownlee (Bangor),
  16. Ryan Noble-Walker (Belfast),
  17. Michael Johnston (Carryduff),
  18. David Gray (Waringstown).

Junior fixtures
Sat, 21st July – Co.Down v Everton at Parkway, Comber (3pm)
Mon, 23rd July – Co.Down v North Dublin Schools at Rugby Avenue Stadium, Coleraine (1.30pm)
Tue, 24th July – Co.Down v Queen of the South at Roe Mill, Limavady (noon).


Nicola Houston of Shoefair Sports, Banbridge with chairman, Bobbie Reid, and the County Down Premier squad. Also included is manager, John Bailie, and his backroom team of Davy Bryson, Peter Houston and Frank McClean.

Premier squad

  1. Marcel Salatka (Bangor),
  2. Karl Devine (Belfast),
  3. Conor McMenamin (Downpatrick),
  4. Padraig McGrath (Warrenpoint),
  5. Stuart Mallen (Banbridge),
  6. Nathan McAleese (Castlewellan),
  7. Patrick Bradley (Holywood),
  8. Samuel McClelland (Belfast),
  9. Jamie Sharvin (Killyleagh),
  10. TJ Murray (Dundonald),
  11. Ethan Knipe (Dundonald),
  12. Jay Shields (Dundonald),
  13. Michael Hunsdale (Dundonald),
  14. Adam Harwood (Dundonald),
  15. Kurtis Coffey (Cloughey),
  16. Gary McBride (Ballywalter),
  17. Johnny Kane (Belfast),
  18. Craig Barnett (Newtownards).

Premier fixtures
Sat, 21st July – Co.Down v Etoile Lusitana at Parkway, Comber (5pm)
Mon, 23rd July – Co.Down v Bolton at Coleraine Showgrounds (3.30pm)
Tue, 24th July – Co.Down v Revo Express at Rugby Avenue Stadium, Coleraine (5pm).

Wednesday 27th June 2012 – Foster pays tribute to Milk Cup volunteers

Tourism Minister, Arlene Foster hosted a reception at Parliament Buildings to mark the 30th anniversary of the prestigious football tournament.

County Down Milk Cup chairman, Bobbie Reid and vice-chairman, Ronnie Cromie attended the reception and received a glass vase presented to each of the six counties.

Mrs. Foster, praised the dedication of committee members and background staff who have worked tirelessly over the years to make the tournament a global success.

Addressing guests, who included Milk Cup volunteers from across Northern Ireland, local council representatives and sponsors, Mrs. Foster said: “This is a great opportunity to celebrate the wonderful work carried out by those dedicated to the Milk Cup over the last 30 years.”

Monday 25th June 2012 – Romas aid County Down ahead of football feast

Nick McErlean, proprietor of Romas of Regent Street, Newtownards, presents County Down Junior Manager, Paul Ritchie, with a sponsorship cheque towards costs for the Milk Cup’s 30th Anniversary tournament that starts on Saturday, 21st July.

Tuesday 19th June 2012 – Juniors lift Mourne Cup in Crossgar

Paul Ritchie’s Junior squad lifted silverware on Saturday in the shape of the Mourne Cup. The Under-15’s kicked the competition off with a resounding 9-nil victory over Ards FC. Next up, County Down defeated County Tyrone 4-nil.

Despite losing by a single goal in the final game against Dundalk SBL, the County Down boys were awarded the trophy ahead of the lads from the south – thanks to a superior goal difference.


County Down Vice-Chairman Ronnie Cromie presents Charlie Martyn and the Junior squad with the Mourne Cup.

Monday 18th June 2012 – Venues and times announced

The 30th anniversary Milk Cup tournament will give football fans throughout Northern Ireland the opportunity to see some of the best young players on the planet – right on their doorsteps. County Down’s Juniors kick-off the competition against multiple-winners Everton, in what is sure to be a terrific opening challenge at Parkway in Comber on Sat, 21st July. Later that same day, the County Down Premier team go head-to-head with Etoile Lusitana from Senegal – champions in 2010. Both squads then depart for the North Coast for the remainder of the Milk Cup. The official opening ceremony takes place on Sunday, 22nd July, with the competition concluding on Thursday, 26th July, in advance of the start of the London Olympics.

Junior fixtures
Sat, 21st July – Co.Down v Everton at Parkway, Comber (3.00pm)
Mon, 23rd July – Co.Down v North Dublin Schools at Rugby Avenue Stadium, Coleraine (1.30pm)
Tue, 24th July – Co.Down v Queen of the South at Roe Mill, Limavady (noon).

Premier fixtures
Sat, 21st July – Co.Down v Etoile Lusitana at Parkway, Comber (5pm)
Mon, 23rd July – Co.Down v Bolton at Coleraine Showgrounds (3.30pm)
Tue, 24th July – Co.Down v Revo Express at Rugby Avenue Stadium, Coleraine (5pm).

Sunday 10th June 2012 – McCartan returns for County Down Parents’ Night

Burnley striker Shay McCartan went back to his roots by visiting the current County Down Milk Cup squads at the Parents’ Information Evening, that took place at the Community Centre in Ballynahinch.

McCartan was the County Down Junior Player of the Tournament at the 2009 competition, and made the move to Turf Moor the following season.

His progress at Burnley has been rapid – making his first team debut against Doncaster Rovers in the Carling Cup back in April. Shay scored over 20 goals for the Burnley Youth Team – that reached the FA Youth Cup semi’s, and was elevated to the Northern Ireland Under-21 panel.


County Down Milk Cup committee members with former player Shay McCartan. Shay made his first team debut for Burnley in April and was also promoted to the Northern Ireland U-21 squad.


Linda McAdam of the County Down Milk Cup committee presents former player Shay McCartan with a tankard at the Parent’s Night at Ballynahinch Community Centre. Shay made his first team debut for Burnley in April this year.

County Down Milk Cup PRO Barry Greene was delighted to bring Shay to share his experiences in professional football with the 2012 Milk Cup squads.

“There’s no better example of how the Milk Cup can propel the career of a talented young individual. Shay was outstanding for us in the Under-15 section back in 2009. Less than three years later he is in the first team squad at Burnley. I’m sure Shay’s success will inspire individuals within this year’s group of players to go on and do something similar.”

The Milk Cup is marking its 30th anniversary with county sides playing their opening fixtures within their own locality. Parkway, home of Northern Amateur Premier Division Club, Comber Rec have kindly agreed to host County Down’s games against previous winners, Everton and Etoile Lusitana.

Junior fixtures
Sat, 21st July – Co.Down v Everton at Parkway, Comber.
Mon, 23rd July – Co.Down v North Dublin Schools. Venue TBC.
Tue, 24th July – Co.Down v Queen of the South. Venue TBC.

Premier fixtures
Sat, 21st July – Co.Down v Etoile Lusitana at Parkway, Comber.
Mon, 23rd July – Co.Down v Bolton. Venue TBC.
Tue, 24th July – Co.Down v Revo Express. Venue TBC.

Thursday 31st May 2012 – County Down teams to host past winners in Milk Cup opening matches

After extensive trials throughout County Down, the Junior and Premier managers have selected their panels up to the pre-tournament residential weekend which takes place in Dublin from 22nd to 24th June. After Dublin, both panels must be cut to the pre-requisite 18 players for the Milk Cup proper.

To mark the 30th anniversary of the competition, the County teams will play their opening matches as “home” games on Saturday, 21st July – with Parkway in Comber hosting County Down’s two teams. The finals will take place on Thursday, 26thJuly, the day before the opening of the Olympic Games in London.


Chairman Bobbie Reid and Nicola Houston of Shoefair Sports, Banbridge with the County Down Junior squad. Also included is manager, Paul Ritchie, and coach, Kyle Spiers.

Provisional Junior squad:

  1. Callum Byers (Dundonald),
  2. Dalton Tate (Ballynahinch),
  3. Andrew Drylie (Lisburn),
  4. Lee Ward (Castlewellan),
  5. Conor Hazard (Downpatrick),
  6. Conor Campbell (Downpatrick),
  7. Luke McAnespie (Banbridge),
  8. Adam Salley (Banbridge),
  9. Jody McGovern (Newry),
  10. Jonathan Walsh (Dromore),
  11. Dylan Power (Newry),
  12. Tiarnan Rushe (Newry),
  13. Neil Warnock (Belfast),
  14. Jordan Doran (Portaferry),
  15. Nicholas Turkington (Carryduff),
  16. Charlie Martyn (Helen’s Bay),
  17. Ross Larmour (Belfast),
  18. James Coffey (Cloughey),
  19. Matthew Dempster (Ballywalter),
  20. Thomas Brownlee (Bangor),
  21. Ryan Noble-Walker (Belfast),
  22. Michael Johnston (Carryduff),
  23. David Gray (Waringstown).


Nicola Houston of Shoefair Sports, Banbridge with chairman, Bobbie Reid, and the County Down Premier squad. Also included is manager, John Bailie, and his backroom team of Davy Bryson, Peter Houston and Frank McClean.

Provisional Premier squad:

  1. Marcel Salatka (Bangor),
  2. Curtis McManus (Belfast),
  3. Karl Devine (Belfast),
  4. Richard Gowdy (Belfast),
  5. Conor McMenamin (Downpatrick),
  6. Padraig McGrath (Warrenpoint),
  7. Stuart Mallen (Banbridge),
  8. Nathan McAleese (Castlewellan),
  9. Dale Stewart (Bangor),
  10. Jordan McMillan (Bangor),
  11. Patrick Bradley (Holywood),
  12. Samuel McClelland (Belfast),
  13. Jamie Sharvin (Killyleagh),
  14. TJ Murray (Dundonald),
  15. Ethan Knipe (Dundonald),
  16. Jay Shields (Dundonald),
  17. Michael Hunsdale (Dundonald),
  18. Adam Harwood (Dundonald),
  19. Kurtis Coffey (Cloughey),
  20. Gary McBride (Ballywalter),
  21. Johnny Kane (Belfast),
  22. Kym Nelson (Belfast),
  23. Craig Barnett (Newtownards).

Wednesday 30th May 2012 – County Down teams to host past winners in Milk Cup opening matches

The Milk Cup’s 30th anniversary draw took place recently at the BBC’s Blackstaff Studios in Belfast. Newly-appointed Northern Ireland manager boss Michael O’Neill joined current internationals Andrew Little and Corry Evans in making the draw for the world renowned international youth football competition that takes place on the north coast in July.

The tournament is marking its 30th anniversary with two games at Parkway, home of Northern Amateur Premier Division Club, Comber Rec.

County Down’s Junior side landed one of the Milk Cup kingpins, with five-time winners Everton visiting Comber’s Parkway grounds in the opening game on Saturday, 21st July. Everton have lifted five Junior titles in seven appearances, three in the last four years. “Everton have a long association with us and are probably the most successful team at the tournament,” said Milk Cup Chairman, Victor Leonard.

“Their manager, David Moyes, has been a solid backer of what we are doing. He has Portrush connections through his late mother and brought his senior team to Coleraine to play a Northern Ireland select when we celebrated our 25th anniversary.

“We have witnessed players of he calibre of Phil Jagielka, James Vaughan, Victor Anichebe, Leon Osman and Tony Hibbert in their junior ranks over the years and they have terrific support from fans in Northern Ireland.”


County Down Milk Cup officials Barry Greene and Ronnie Cromie at the Milk Cup draw at the BBC’s Blackstaff Studios. Making the draw were Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill and current players Andrew Little and Corry Evans. Also included are County Down players Johnny Kane, Nicholas Turkington and representatives from The Dairy Council, Comber Rec, Ards Borough Council and The Milk Cup Organising Committee.

County Down’s Premier team have also landed a plum draw in their opening fixture – with 2010 winners Etoile Lusitana from Senegal, coming to the home of Comber Rec. Premier boss John Bailie is hugely excited by the prospect of facing Etoile. “It will be tough. We lost narrowly to Etoile (1-0) at last year’s Milk Cup and we’re fully aware of their technical ability. It will be a fantastic day at Comber, and hopefully the locals can come in their numbers to cheer us on.”

Junior fixture
Sat, 21st July – Co.Down v Everton at Parkway, Comber.
Mon, 23rd July – Co.Down v North Dublin Schools.
Tue, 24th July – Co.Down v Queen of the South.

Premier fixtures
Sat, 21st July – Co.Down v Etoile Lusitana at Parkway, Comber.
Mon, 23rd July – Co.Down v Bolton.
Tue, 24th July – Co.Down v Revo Express.

Tuesday 22nd May 2012 – Golf Spot sponsor County Down


Colum Murphy, proprietor of the Golf Spot Balloo Bangor, recently presented County Down junior Milk Cup boss Paul Ritchie with a sponsorship cheque towards kitbags. The tournament starts on Saturday, July 21st with matches at Parkway in Comber.

Thursday 3rd May 2012 – Down gears up for Milk Cup extra factor!

Comber Rec will give this summer’s Milk Cup international youth football tournament a County Down homecoming to remember.

County chairman Bobbie Reid has expressed his pride that the world renowned international youth football tournament is marking its 30th anniversary with two games at Parkway, home of the Northern Amateur Premier Division Club.

Milk Cup chairman Victor Leonard and his tournament organising committee are highly impressed with facilities at Comber Rec and paid tribute to Ards Borough Council for its sponsorship which ensured the County Down sides’ opening games could be played at the ground.


The Mayor of Ards Borough Council, Councillor Mervyn Oswald marks the hosting of County Down’s opening Milk Cup games at Comber Rec’s Parkway ground, this summer along with (from left) – Archie Walls, director of leisure services, Ards Borough Council; Victor Leonard, Milk Cup chairman; Craig Brotherston, Ards Borough Council’s soccer development officer; Co. Down Milk Cup chairman Bobbie Reid and Comber Rec chairman David Browne.

“This is something very special for all of us involved in the County Committee and we believe the good folk at Comber Rec are more than well equipped to roll out the red carpet,” said Bobby.

“Both Down’s County teams receive fantastic support at the Milk Cup every year and we appreciate that. For the players and their parents, friends and family, having games at home is such a big thing. We are hoping to have huge support no matter who the teams are drawn against in a few weeks time.”

The Milk Cup, one of Northern Ireland’s major sporting attractions, was established in 1983 in the Coleraine area and has blossomed into a competition with a worldwide reputation. Top clubs such as Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Benfica and Bayern Munich compete together with national sides from all across Europe, North and South America.

The opening games for both County Down’s Junior and Premier sides will be in the locality on Saturday, July 21 and it will be only the second time in the competition’s history that the County has hosted games.

Comber Rec chairman David Browne added: “We look forward to welcoming the tournament which has rightly earned such a high reputation for excellence throughout the world.

“I know the local sporting public will make everyone feel at home in Comber.”

The Mayor of Ards, Councillor Mervyn Oswald said: “Ards Borough Council is delighted to be helping bring the Milk Cup to Comber. Hosting these opening games in a tournament of international standing is a privilege, a great boost to local soccer and will undoubtedly draw large crowds”.


The Mayor of Ards Borough Council, Councillor Mervyn Oswald marks the hosting of County Down’s opening Milk Cup games at Comber Rec’s Parkway ground, this summer along with Victor Leonard, Milk Cup chairman, Craig Brotherston, Ards Borough Council’s soccer development officer and Archie Walls,the council’s director of leisure services.

Milk Cup operations manager, Newtownards man Jim Sandford, added: “The last time we took opening games to the six Counties was nine years ago when we marked the 21st anniversary of the tournament.

“That proved to be a popular decision with our County teams well supported and of course there was an immense feeling of pride among the boys and Committee members that they were able to play their first matches in front of large home crowds.

“We have always been aware of the terrific backing the County teams receive from supporters during the week of the competition and we never lose sight of that. It is a vital element of the competition’s success.”

Jim added: “I know many people who make the Milk Cup an annual holiday on the North Coast where they enjoy a week watching matches and soaking up the atmosphere across the region. That’s a very special part of the tournament and many friendships have been forged and renewed over the years.”

Tuesday 10th April 2012 – South Down Junior trial

South Down Junior Co-ordinator George McAllister will be running a trial at Banbridge Town FC on 22 April 2012 at 10.30am. Players can contact George on 07824690543 or Linda McAdam on 07814127573. Attendees are reminded to bring their own boots, shinguards, shorts and socks.

Monday 2nd April 2012 – County Down junior trials ready for kick-off

The NI Milk Cup will mark its 30th anniversary in style in 2012. To celebrate, the competition will commence earlier with games at venues from Saturday, July 21st.

County Down’s Junior manager Paul Ritchie is calling on eligible local players to put themselves forward for trials that are set to start.

If you are a coach or parent and you know of any under 15 player who has the ability to represent County Down at the world-renowned Milk Cup tournament, which takes place from 21st July – 26th July 2012, make sure to contact one of the trial co-ordinators with details of name, date of birth, contact number, position and club/school.

To be eligible for the County Down Junior Squad, players must be born on or after 1st January 1997. Furthermore, parents or guardians of players must currently live at an address in County Down.

Trials will be split into three zones:

North Down – This area covers the whole of Belfast, south of the Lagan, and the Ards Peninsula including Bangor and Holywood. Trial Co-ordinator is Jason Purvis (07598946035).

South Down – This area takes in Newry, Warrenpoint, Kilkeel, Banbridge, Rathfriland and Dromora. Trial Co-ordinators are George McAllister (07824690543) and Linda McAdam (07814127573).

East Down – This area covers Annahilt, Ballynahinch, Carryduff, Newcastle, Downpatrick areas. Trial Co-ordinators are Paul Moore (07549661772) and Ronnie Cromie (07788441342).

The Milk Cup starts on 21st July 2012. Owing to the London Olympics, the tournament will conclude on Thursday, July 26th.

Wednesday 22nd February 2012 – Down begin search for Milk Cup talent

County Down boss John Bailie is about to embark on his second campaign in charge of the Premier (under 17) team, hoping to follow on from the success that saw his charges win the Vase competition last year. In his search for the top players in the county, Bailie is getting his preparations underway earlier than usual. “I’m aiming to run a series of trials during the month of March, and by end of that same month, to have a preliminary squad of 30 players,” he said.

“The boys selected will then have a number of training sessions before coming together for a final trial game at the beginning of May, in advance of the naming of an initial squad of 23 players.”

If you are a coach or parent and you know of any under 17 player who has the ability to represent County Down at the world-renowned Milk Cup tournament, which takes place from 21st July – 26th July 2012, make sure to contact one of the trial co-ordinators with details of name, date of birth, contact number, position and club/school.

To be eligible for the County Down Premier Squad players must be born after 1st January 1995. Furthermore, parents or guardians of players must currently live at an address in County Down.

Trials will be split into three zones:

North Down
This area covers the whole of Belfast, south of the Lagan, and the Ards Peninsula including Bangor and Holywood.
Trial Co-ordinator is Davy Bryson (07931665050).

South Down
This area takes in Newry, Warrenpoint, Kilkeel, Banbridge, Rathfriland and Dromora.
Trial Co-ordinator is Peter Houston (07867767787).

East Down
This area covers Annahilt, Ballynahinch, Carryduff, Newcastle, Downpatrick areas.
Trial Co-ordinator is Frank McClean (07541255184).

Details of selection for Junior (under 15) squad will be announced in the coming weeks.

The NI Milk Cup will mark its 30th anniversary in style in 2012. To celebrate, the competition will commence earlier with games at venues from Saturday, July 21st. Owing to the London Olympics, the tournament will conclude on Thursday, July 26th.

Sunday 13th November 2011 – County Down Benefits From Lifesaving Initiative By Bertie Peacock Foundation

County Down Milk Cup officials have received two defibrillators from the Bertie Peacock Foundation to cover all activities of their Junior and Premier squads in the build up to next summer’s event.

County Committee members John Hamilton, Bobbie Reid and Jeremy Bell attended the presentation in Coleraine and agreed the initiative, sparked by the collapse of a young player at last summer’s tournament, is a major step forward.

The Portstewart footballer with the heart problem says he is pleased his plight has helped raise awareness of the need for life saving defibrillators to made available at sporting venues.

Christopher McNeill continues his remarkable recovery following surgery to install a defibrillator and is hailing the provision of defibs at all Milk Cup grounds next year as a welcome breakthrough in improving vital support in the event of an emergency.

The £6,000 cost has been met by the Bertie Peacock Foundation which was established following the death in 2004 of Coleraine’s former Celtic and Northern Ireland footballer, a founding member of the international youth football tournament.


John Hamilton, Bobbie Reid and Jeremy Bell, Co Down Milk Cup Committee, pictured with Chris McNeill at the Milk Cup Defib presentation. Also included are Victor Leonard and Jim Weir, Milk Cup Committee, Roger Dallas and Frank Trainor, Peacock Foundation and Ron Peacock, grandson of the late Bertie Peacock.

Chris says: “I am pleased that the awareness about the need for defibrillators is being heightened after what happened to me.

“It’s unfortunate that it took my ordeal to spark it all off but that’s the positive message from it all.”

Foundation director Roger Dallas said: “I was at the game when Chris took unwell. It was a very worrying time, obviously for the family and the player himself but I believe that Bertie Peacock, who was such a driving force in youth football, would be proud that a Foundation perpetuating his memory is taking a lead role in this issue and helping to preserve the lives of young footballers and indeed others.

“The Foundation exists to promote health and education among young people and we are using football to achieve that goal. Down the years we have had several programmes in place, sending young people to Dutch club Feyenoord and Manchester United for training, as well as initiatives where local charities in Northern Ireland have benefitted from sporting equipment provided by the Foundation.

“We are delighted to be involved in this latest move to supply defibs to the Milk Cup and its County teams because we believe the preservation of life is one one of the most important aspirations of the Trust.”

Milk Cup spokesman Jim Sandford said: “For a tournament in existence 29 years, we had never factored in the possibility of a young player suffering heart problems and it has been a steep learning curve for those of us involved in organising the event.

“It was a very difficult time for so many people but we have learned from it and now, because of the generosity of the Bertie Peacock Foundation, every Milk Cup activity at County level in the run up to the competition and during the week will be covered by defibs. This is a significant breakthrough.”

All sporting events in the Province and indeed in a wider sphere should be covered in this way, according to tournament chairman Victor Leonard: “I welcome this positive step forward in terms of providing life saving cover not only for players but spectators too.

“These are difficult times financially but you cannot place a price on a human life and I would urge government to assist sporting clubs and organisations to provide similar cover at events.

“We have all known of situations in sport where participants have not been as fortunate as Chris and been able to receive instant medical attention and the vital back up of a defibrillator.”

St. John Ambulance personnel will offer training to officials and ground stewards beginning with representatives of the County associations, both Junior and Premier squads, benefitting in the months leading up to the event when they stage trials and training sessions, all of which will have access to a defibrillator.

Coleraine divisional nursing officer Andrew Fleming said: “Your chance of survival having a defib on hand to shock the heart in the first minute after a collapse is 90 per cent. That decreases every minute by ten per cent. So if you take it that an ambulance will be around ten minutes in getting to an incident, the chances of survival are greatly diminished by that stage.

“CPR is a holding measure. It increases oxygen and blood supply to the brain until the advance care can arrive. So, the defibrillator is the piece of equipment that is going to restart that heart by stunning it and hopefully getting it back into a normal rhythm again, along with the drugs that can be administered.”

The defibs were handed over at a ceremony in Coleraine’s Lodge Hotel atended by Bertie Peacock’s grandson Ron. He said: ““Having a defibrillator at a game is a huge positive when an emergency occurs. It quite literally can be the difference between life and death.

“I know my grandfather would be very proud about this development and I salute the valuable work the Foundation is continuing to do which is honouring his name.”

As for Chris McNeill, head boy at Dalriada School in Ballymoney, he admits it is unlikely that he will play football again: “With advances in modern medicine and technology I suppose its probably not entirely out of the question but for the forseeable future I would say football is not on the horizon in terms of playing but that does not rule out coaching or any other side of the game.”