Monthly Archives: June 2014

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

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


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


Please like & share:

Premier Side Win as Juniors go Down against St Kevins!

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


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


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


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


Please like & share:

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

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


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


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


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


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



Please like & share:

Venue change for Junior Squad in Dublin!

The Dale Farm Milk Cup Junior County side will now take on St.Kevins under 15’s at St Kevins which can be found on Larkhill Road, Whitehall, Dublin 9. Directions to the pitches can be found on the St. Kevins webpage or through clicking on this page.

The Premier side will take on St. Kevins under 18’s at Gormaston College. Kick off for both matches is 2pm.

Please like & share:

County Down Win Mourne Cup!

On the 28th July 56 teams from all five continents will descend upon the North Coast for the prestigious Dale Farm Milk Cup and on Sunday the 15th June County Down stepped up their preparations with a comprehensive victory in the Annual Mourne Cup. John Bailie’s squad who have been working together intensively for a number of weeks welcomed county counterparts Armagh and Tyrone as well as local Irish league side Glentoran’s under 19’s to the Billy Neil centre just outside Comber on a scorching summer’s day.

County Down began the day taking on Glentoran whilst Armagh took on Tyrone in the other Semi-final with the winners facing each other in the Final. With just a couple of weeks to go before John Bailie has to announce his final 18 for the 2014 Dale Farm Milk Cup the Down players started brightly, zipping the ball about and snapping into tackles. Howard was creating problems with his movement and after going close with a half-volley after a long throw from Turkington got his just reward for a lively opening 15 minutes as he calmly slotted home to give County Down lead. He was at it again, soon after driving at the Glentoran defence before being bundled over by the Glentoran Central defender. Salley dispatched the resulting spot kick to give John Bailie’s County Down side a deserved 2-0 lead. The central midfield partnership of Mcgovern and Drilley had stamped their authority on the game, combining well together setting the tempo for the rest of the County Down squad. Wingers Dupree and Rushe were a threat throughout and with half time fast approaching the back four of left back Turkington, central defenders Khalid and Noble-Walker and right back Mcavoy had barely broke a sweat and were dealing comfortably with any Glentoran attacks.

Glentoran came out for the second half with a renewed sense of vigour as the County Down lads took their foot off the gas. Glentoran got their just rewards for their impressive start to the second half as their centre forward robbed the Down midfield off the ball before driving at the heart of defence and litting it over the on-rushing goalkeeper to make it 2-1. That goal seemed to jolt Down back into action as they rediscovered their commanding first half form. Substitute Johnston was to be the thorn in Glentoran’s side as he exstinguished any hopes they had of getting themselves back into the game, volleying in from close range following another through ball from Mcgovern. Johnston was at it again as he put the game beyond doubt nodding in from a corner to make it 4-1. Johnston whose pace and trickery were causing all sorts of problems set up Lennox for the final goal of the game. The game finished up 5-1 as the manner of victory as much as the margain will have pleased premier team Manager John Bailie. Playing with pace and tempo Down looked threatening throughout the game.
As County Armagh defeated County Tyrone 5-1 in the other semi-final the final looked set to be a sterner test for the County Down lads.

Kicking off at the height of the afternoon sun both sides could be forgiven for dropping their intensity. However Down began where they left off against Glentoran as they flew out of the traps against Armagh. The dangerous Johnston was again in the middle of the action as he gave county Down an early lead after being slid through by the impressive Lennox. Soon after Johnston picked up the ball on the left-hand corner of the box, jinked his way past the opposing defender and fired the ball across the box. The Armagh central defender was unable to move his feet quickly enough as the ball bounced off his shin and into the net. With a 2-0 lead Down continued to assert themselves on their opponents. The midfield of Dempster, Drilley and Rice were overrunning the Armagh midfield which gave Down the platform to build on their early goals. A rare Armagh venture into the Down half was thwarted by a great clearing header from Byers. Foster, Neale and Stewart were equally impressive in nullifying Armagh attacks. Despite the intense heat Down did not lower their tempo as Drilley robbed the ball of his opposing number before powering past a couple of players and bundling it into the net to make it 3-0 with 10 minutes still left to play before half time. Dempster, Johnston and Kane went close as Down looked to add to their lead.

With a comprehensive 3-0 lead at half time County Down picked up where they left off at the start of the second half. Lennox was again causing trouble cutting inside from the left wing. He was slid through after hard work from Drilley, only for his final shot to be blocked. Dempster went closer again and centre forward Salley continued to play an unselfish role, consistently bringing his teammates into the game. Despite going close with Howard in the closing minutes all the goals were scored in the frenetic first half. The match came to a close and Down were once again Mourne Cup champions. It was a confidence boosting victory for John Bailie’s premier squad as they step up their preparations for the 2014 Dale Farm Milk Cup. Next up for the County Down lads is a trip to Dublin were they will take on North Dublin Schoolboys, St Kevins Boys Club under 18’s and a Dundalk representative side before the final squad of 18 players is announced at the end of June.

Please like & share:

Billy Neil welcomes its own festival of football!

2 days in and the World Cup is already in full swing, but for the  County Down Dale Farm Milk Cup Premier Team, attention will be diverted from watching the likes of Neymar and co to preparing for the Mourne Cup this Sunday.  County Down will welcome  fellow Dale Farm Milk Cup hopefuls Tyrone and Armagh as well as local Irish League side Glentoran’s under 19 side to the Billy Neil for the annual Mourne Cup tournament.


County Down will take on Glentoran in the opening fixture at 10am with the Winner taking on the victor of the match between County Tyrone and county Armagh.  The games will be one of Premier Team Manager John Bailie’s last chance to run his eye over his squad before the final 18 is announced at the end of June. After defeating an under 19 Irish league representative side 4-1 last week and drawing in midweek with last years County Down Premier side, confidence is growing amongst this years crop of players and this Sunday’s  weekend will present this years squad with another opportunity to play together before the trip to Dublin next week. County Down’s own ‘festival of football’ may not be as well known as the one currently dominating our tv screens but it promises to be no less exciting.


Please like & share:

Dale Farm Milk Cup Premier team match and training schedule.

Tuesday 10th June– Match v County Down 2013 Dale Farm Milk Cup team. 1845 K.O. @ Billy Neill.

Thursday 12th June– Training @Billy Neil. 1830 Start.

Sunday 15th June– Mourne Cup 4 team Tournament. 10am K.O. @Billy Neill.

Tuesday 17th June– Training @Billy Niell. 1830 Start.

Friday 20th June– Dublin Game 1 v Dublin schools @ Gormaston College. 1900 K.O.

Saturday 21th June-Dublin Game 2 v St. Kevins under 18 @ Gormaston College. 1400 K.O.

Sunday 22nd June– Dublin Game 3v Dundalk @ Dundalk. 1400 K.O.

Tuesday 24th June– Spin Class @ Banbridge. (Details to be confrimed)

Thrusday 26th June– Training@ Billy Neill. 1830 Start.

Saturday 28th June– 4 team tournament at Lurgan (Details to be confirmed).

Tuesday 1st July– Game v Ballymena U19 @ Ballymena showgrounds 3g. (K.O. to be confirmed)

Thursday 3rd July– Training @ Billy Neill.1830 start.

Saturday 5th July– Game v Hillsborough Boys @Billy Neill. 1015 K.O.

Tuesday 8th July– Training @Billy Neill. 1830 start.

Thursday 10th July– Training @ Billy Neill. 1830 Start.

Tuesday 15th July– Training @ Newcastle. 1830 Start.

Thursday 17th July– Game v Woodvale U19 @ Billy Neill.1845 K.O.

Saturday 19th July– Training @ Billy Neill. 10am Start.

Tuesday 22nd July– Training @ Billy Neill. 1830 Start.

Thursday 24th July– Training @ Billy Neill. 1830 Start.

Sunday 27th July– Arrive in Coleraine.

Monday 28th July- 2014 Dale Farm Milk Cup Begins.

Please like & share:

DUBLIN fixtures confirmed!

With just under 3 weeks until the Annual weekend trip to Dublin, the fixtures have been confirmed. On Friday the 20th June Kyle Spiers’ Junior Team and John Bailie’s Senior team will take on the North Dublin Schoolboys Under 16’s and Under 17’s at Gormanston College.


The Junior and Senior Teams will then take on local club side St. Kevins Boys Club. St Kevins boast former Arsenal supremo Liam Brady, Fulham winer Damien Duff and Former leeds star Ian Harte among its former players and has a rich history with many of its players representing the Republic of Ireland in their various under-age teams.


The demanding weekend will culminate for the Juniors against Eircom Premier League side, Shelbourne’s under 15 side, while the Seniors will end the action packed weekend with a game against a representative side from Eircom league Side Dundalk, in Dundalk.


WIth the Dale Farm Milk Cup approaching fast on the horizon, the trip will give Junior Team Manager Kyle Spiers and Senior team manager John Bailie an opportunity to run their eye over their squads in a similar envireonment to one they will encounter at the Dale Farm Milk Cup at the end of July. The final Junior and Senior squads of 18 for the Dale Farm Milk Cup will be announced following the trip at the end of June.



In other news the Annual Mourne Cup and Nevin Spence memorial trophy tournaments will now take place on Sunday the 15th Jun at Billy Neill Centre of Excellence. Details on the matches will follow in the next few days.

Please like & share:

Dale Farm Milk Cup Draw update!

On the 27th July 56 Teams from some of the World leading Proffesional Clubs will decend upon the North Coast along with local County sides for the week long feast of football that is the Dale Farm Milk Cup.


Following the draw that took place on the 27th May we can now confirm the where, the who, and when both  Down Senior and Junior squads will be in action in the first three Days,


The Junior lads will open up against Scottish Champsionship side Queen of the South. The match will take place at Castlerock at 1330. The Junior team will then make the short trip across to Rugby Avenue in Coleraine for their game against  Southern side Dundalk Schoolboys. The match will also Kick off at 1330.


The final game of the opening round of matches  for the Junior set-up will see them take on the 2012 winners Brentford at Anderson Park in Coleraine. The Match will kick off at 1530. Despite the difficut draw the Junior side will be hopeful that they can follow in the footsteps of the 2006 sides who reached the Semi-Final of the Dale Farm Milk Cup proper before unfortunately loosing on penalties in the Semi Finals. With the likes of Rangers, Liverpool and Japan, in this years Junior competition the 2014 Dale Farm Milk Cup looks set to be more competive than previous years. It will also give the lads from the Junior set-up the opportunity to test themselves against high-class opposition in a world class tournament in front of tousands of people.


 Meanwhile John Bailie’s senior side will begin their campaign with a mouth-wattering local derby against Country Antrim at the Ballymena Showgrounds. Kick off is at 1800. They will then travel to Rugby Avenue, Coleraine the following evening to take on Scottish Premier League side Partrick Thistle’s Under 17 Side.The final game of the opening round will be played against te Craig Bellamy Foundation at Scroggy Road, Limavady with a  7pm kick off. The Craig Bellamy Foundation was set up in 2009 to help under-privileged kids in Sierra Lienne. The foundation recruits some of Africa’s best young player, giving 5-year scholarships to 11-13 year olds to train and play at its state of the art facilities. It promises to be a good test for the County Down lads as John Bailie’s side rub shoulders with players and coaches from across the world.


Now with less than two months to go until the big Kick preparations are intensifying as both John Bailie and Kyle Spiers put their squads through their paces before the 28th July.

Please like & share: