2006 Tournament


Due to the unprecedented success of the Junior Team at this year’s tournament it was hardly surprising that there was a lot of media coverage of them. On the off chance that you have missed the BBC’s hour-long special feature programme on the Milk Cup click here to view the feature on the Junior team.


County Down began the week with two scoreless draws against top quality opposition. The Junior Team began the week against last years beaten finalists CSKA Moscow with defences coming out on top. Down’s centre back pairing Shannon Drainey and Matthew Carson kept CSKA star striker Anton Zaboloynyy quiet and on 24 minutes a ball out of defence put Jordan Hughes through with the Russian keeper only pushing the ball out to William Frazer who flashed his shot inches wide. In the second half, which Down shaded, chances from Portaferry’s Michael Doran and from Hughes were spurned and the Down lads were unlucky not to open their account but were content to make a good start to the Tournament.

Premier Team at the opening parade

The Junior squad at the opening parade

On to day 2, with the Junior Team playing Shamrock Rovers at Portstewart. The first half was a cagey affair with both midfields on top. Aaron Boyd and Scott Davidson pulled the strings for Down. Warryn Butler at the back kept the Shamrock forwards at bay. Down came out in the second half after a stern team talk from Manager Paul Ritchie a different team. Jordan Hughes opened the account after 9 minutes followed by co-striker Michael Doran after 14 to put Down two up. In between keeper Luke Melvin did well to keep out a rasping 20 yard drive. Two minutes from the end Eoin Boyle scored the goal of the game when his 25 yard strike went in off the crossbar to give Down a 3-0 win.

This win was good enough to take the Down boys through to play Scottish side Hearts, in the quarter final at Anderson Park, Coleraine. And what a game that turned out to be in front of a large crowd. On 8 minutes the Down right back, Brian Davey played the ball to captain Shannon Drainey who played Portaferry’s Michael Doran through. Michael took the ball to the six yard box and squared for Jordan Hughes to place the ball wide off the goalkeeper to put Down ahead. The lead should have been increased on 10 minutes when Eoin Boyle raced through the centre only for the Hearts keeper to make a good save.

Right on half time Doran too pulled a good save from the keeper. From the restart Hearts threw everything at County Down but the Down defence of Davey, Drainey, Frazer , Foster and Carson held out backed up by keeper Gareth Buchanan who pulled off a double save with 10 minutes to go. Aaron Boyd was controlling the middle of the park and it was he who played Michael Doran in only for the keeper to foil the attempt. Hearts were getting frustrated as Down played down the clock with the ball in the corner. Their no. 7, Conrad Balatoni, got two yellow cards in quick succession and got himself sent off as Down held on for a magnificent win.

The semi final against Swindon Town was played at a packed Limavady Showgrounds in front of the biggest crowd of the week. In an action packed first half the defences were very much on top although Jordan Hughes wriggled his way through to put his shot just over the bar. Aaron Boyd and Jimmy Callagher got on top of the midfield and began to supply good ball to Doran & Hughes with the Swindon keeper pulling off good saves.

Eoin Boyle, scorer of the vital goal

Junior Team line up before the Swindon game

Down began the second half where they left off the first in the ascendancy but as the half wore on Swindon came into the game more and with 11 minutes to go opened the scoring with a cross from the right which was put away by centre forward Chris Power.

Manager Paul Ritchie made several positional changes bringing on Mark Fitzsimons and pushing Eoin Boyle up. Down were now the only team in the game and as fourth official Frankie Hiles held up 2 minutes additional time a through ball from Boyd was centred by Hughes and there was Eoin Boyle to head home a magnificent equaliser. The crowd went wild and the Down boys went looking for the winner with the Swindon defence rocking. Doran almost scored right on the final whistle with his shot glancing the post.

Matthew Carson was named Junior player of the tournament by manager Paul Ritchie

On to penalties with Swindon scoring all theirs and the unfortunate Matthew Carson, who was one of Down’s best players all week missing the third penalty for Down followed by Brian Davey who had the fourth penalty saved. So near and yet so far for the Down team who have been the only county side to reach the Milk Cup semis to date.

Final day saw the 3rd/4th place play off against Lyngby Boldklub from Denmark who had lost their semi against Crumlin United from Dublin. Down practically camped in the Danish half in the first half with at least four chances missed. In the second period Conor Doherty from Ballynahinch had his opportunity to open the scoring but missed from 6 yards out. Lyngby scored the winner in the last five minutes to claim the 3rd place.

Down Juniors have had the best campaign of any county side to date and gained some consolation on finals night when midfielder Aaron Boyd from Newtownards was a recipient of a double award, Junior Player of the Tournament and County player of the Tournament which will enable him to avail of cross channel professional training and coaching through the inaugural Bertie Peacock award. Well done to Aaron and congratulations to all the Junior County Team who can feel proud of all their efforts during Milk Cup week.

Aaron Boyd receives his Junior player of the tournament award from Legend Jackie Fullerton


The Premier Team began against Cruz Azul from Mexico. In the first half the nerves were showing in the Down play with the Austrians holding the upper hand in midfield. Manager Damian McCorry made a number of changes in the second half which brought Down more into the game. Mark Cooling from Bangor hit the crossbar with a super freekick and Thomas Gorman almost won the game for Down with the ball in the net twice but both were disallowed.

Gary Hazley, Damian McCorry and Courtney McMullan before the first game

Another opening parade shot

On day 2 the Premier Team met Rapid Vienna who ended up beaten finalists, at Mullaghagall, Portstewart and conceded an early goal after 13 minutes with a high cross parried by keeper Kieran Gordon was converted by the Austrian winger.

Down came out in the second half a different Team as within 2 minutes of the restart midfielder Stephen Whiteside equalised. Three substitutions were the made with Conor Killen and Thomas Gorman replacing Stephen Galbraith and Gary Sharratt up front. Killen had a great opportunity to put Down ahead with 15 minutes to play but spooned his shot over the bar. With 3 minutes remaining Thomas Gorman lost possession on the edge of his penalty area and the ball broke to the Rapid no 7 whose shot was cruelly deflected past Gordon by Andrew Ferguson. Right on full time Conor Killen had a second opportunity but it went the same way as the first.

This defeat left the Down Team in the second competition, the BT Trophy where they met a strong Chelsea side who had been put out of the Milk Cup the previous evening by the eventual winners, Spartak Moscow. Down had the worst possible start when on 90 seconds centre back Shane Lowry fell awkwardly and dislocated his shoulder. Play wasn’t stopped until the ball was in the Down net for the Chelsea opener. Down then competed well but suffered a hammer blow when after a Down chance, a cross by right back William McBurney was cleared up the park for Chelsea’s second right on the half time whistle.

It didn’t get any better for Down in the second period when Stephen Whiteside was red carded for throwing a punch at the Chelsea captain who was not entirely innocent. Midfielder Ross McMullan joined his team mate Shane Lowry in hospital with a broken thumb with a rampant Chelsea hitting two more without reply. Down’s only chance was a Mark Cooling free kick which hit the crossbar.

In the play offs Down lost to Antrim on penalties after a 2-2 draw, Mark Cooling and Andrew Ferguson scoring one in each half in a game which Down really should have won. Thomas Gorman and Kerri Grant missed the penalties.

The final game was a 2-1 win over Tyrone in a totally one sided game. Mark Cooling again netting to become top scorer. Conor Killen hit the winner after which Tyrone scored a consolation.

Mark Cooling was the Premier player of the tournament

Shane Lowry presented with the McCluskey trophy

The Down Premier team didn’t play to their potential and were capable of much more. Manager Damian McCorry and Coach Gary Hazley were disappointed but the boys can learn from playing in this magnificent tournament.

25th JULY 2006 – UPDATE

Last week of training with the Juniors having spent Saturday around the Coleraine area looking at and getting a feel of the pitches. Of particular interest was Castlerock where at high noon on Monday 31st July they meet the Russians CSKA from Moscow. The Warren in Portstewart too came under intense scrutiny. Both pitches badly need the rain after this dry spell.

The Premier Team had a 6 mile run around Castlewellan Lake in the beautiful surroundings of Castlewellan Forest Park followed by the BBQ.

Premier manager Damian McCorry with Andrew McCoy.

The Premier Squad and Committee Members enjoying the BBQ.

A presentation of his training kit was made to Andrew McCoy who has had to pull out of the Premier squad due to illness. We all hope that he makes a full recovery.

15th JULY 2006 – UPDATE

Both Teams were back in on Saturday after the week off. The Juniors had a useful training session and the Premier Team played a match against a Loughgall U-18 side who are participating in this years Foyle Cup. Down ran out 6-1 winners in what was a useful exercise for both Managers.

Into the last two weeks with some final touches on the training ground to be done.
Next Saturday the Juniors are heading up to the North West to sample the atmosphere and visit the grounds on which they will play their opening two matches. The Premier Team head to Castlewellan Forest Park for a light workout and a BBQ.


The bus left Sprucefield at midday and by 3 o’clock both teams were in the Hotel.
On to the ALSA centre, where Cherry Orchard were waiting to play both Down Teams. Cherry Orchard are also preparing both teams to play in the Milk Cup. Both matches ended 3-0 to the host teams and lots of lessons learned. The Manager’s were not impressed!

On to Saturday where the Junior Team played North Dublin Schools and after an even first half the Down boys began to show what they were capable of and played their best game thus far winning 3-0. The Premier Team had the day off and cooled down at the pool. The Junior Team went 10 pin bowling on Saturday night.

On to Sunday morning when a rather tired Junior Team lost by the odd goal in three to a Dublin SL Select with the Premier Team making amends with a magnificent 1-0 win over the Republic of Ireland U-17 Team. Conor Killen from Downpatrick hit the winning goal in the second half in what was a great team performance in the heat.

Chairman Bobbie Reid and Treasurer John Hamilton enjoy one of the games down in Dublin.

Action from the Premier Squads match against the Republic of Ireland under 17s.

Both panels have now been cut to the required panel of 18 players’ for the tournament. It’s a tough call for the 9 players who have been left out but they have had a good month of training, coaching and camaraderie. The Managers and committee wish them all the best in their future careers and hope to see them up at the Milk Cup.

26th JUNE 2006 – D T reverses to become T D in Dublin

There was a major upset at the annual 10- pin bowling competition for the U14’s at the Leisure Complex in Coolock when last years winners John Hamilton’s team were easily beaten into third place.

Davy Taylor’s team ran out well ahead of the rest to become Top Dogs to claim the main prize. There were some good personal performances with Davy’s team all hitting in the mid 80’s or above. One of the teams included a lady, Linda McAdam, but it would be suffice to say that she was not the worse as this honour fell to Gareth Buchanan with a score of 50.

As well as showing who could play bowls the exercise also divulged who on the website were ” Jesus Saves” “Hitman” “Lizard” and “Weed Smoker”. Watch out the gaffer now knows!!!!

When asked for a quote John would only say “I accept no responsibility for my team’s performance as I performed well but was badly let down by my boys who did not care about my reputation.”

At the conclusion of the games when the monetary prizes were being handed out Davy Taylor proved, that although he was the champion of the bowls he will never become a financial accountant (5 x 24 does not make 90). For those who do not know Davy had 90 Euros to give out to the boys, he gave them 24 Euros each and had to retrieve 6 euros back from each winner.


On Saturday 17th June in perfect conditions and on an excellent surface at Kilmore, the Junior squad took on County Antrim, County Tyrone and Dundalk SL in this years Mourne Cup.

The first match resulted in a good 2 – 0 win over Dundalk with goals from Michael Doran and Scott Davidson. In the other match Tyrone and Antrim drew 0-0.

The second games finished in another fine win for Down over Antrim 3-0 with the scorers this time Eoin Boyle 2 and Conor Doherty. The other game finished in a surprise 5-0 win for Dundalk over Tyrone.

Going into the final match needing only a draw to win the Cup, Down made hard work of it against a very determined Tyrone side obviously out to restore some pride after the 5 goal defeat in their previous match. Tyrone had a few good chances to go in front before Michael Doran broke the deadlock, Down settled then and with another goal from Conor Doherty they won 2-0 and the Cup came home for only the second time in the six years of the tournament. The other game finished in a good 3-0 win for Antrim over Dundalk.

(Opposite) Junior Captain Matthew Carson is presented with the Mourne Cup by Ivan Fraser from Fane Valley.

On the showing today, Paul and Kyle have a very tough decision to leave five boys out as they all played their part in what looked a very strong squad indeed.

The victorious Junior Team with the Mourne Cup along with John “Bowling Ball” Hamilton – possibly the best kit man in the world.


Training continues for both squads at Kilmore in preparation for the Mourne Cup and the Dublin weekend and ultimately the Milk Cup. Here is some of the team working hard, or pretending too. You decide.

players train players train


Today was the first day that both Premier and Junior teams trained together at Kilmore Road, Crossgar. It was also a chance for all players to meet their team mates for the first time. Let the games begin!!

players train players train


After extensive trials throughout the County the following panels have been selected.

Premier Panel
Mark Armstrong – Ardglass ; Jonathan Bowers – Belfast ; Jeff Brady – Banbridge ; Ben Browne – Donaghadee ; Mark Cooling – Bangor ; Owen Costello – Belfast ; Mark Drysdale – Millisle ; Andrew Ferguson – Dundonald ; Gerald Forde – Newry ; Stephen Galbraith – Downpatrick ; William McBurney – Dundonald ; Thomas Gorman – Dundonald ; Kerri Grant – Crossgar ; Conor Killen – Downpatrick ; Shane Lowry – Bangor ; Andrew McCoy – Kilkeel ; Ross McMullan – Bangor ; Kieran Gordon – Downpatrick ; Ryan Newberry – Belfast ; Gary Sharratt – Donaghadee ; Stephen Woodside – Belfast ; Joshua Magennis – Bangor.

Junior Panel
Nathan Curran – Downpatrick ; Rory McBride – Bangor ; William Frazer – Loughbrickland ; Michael Foster – Newtownards ; Shannon Drainey – Gilford ; Matthew Carson – Downpatrick ; Brian Davey – Bangor ; David Poole – Belfast ; Warren Butler – Belfast ; Niall McBride – Belfast ; Ethan Boylan – Bangor ; Matthew Bell – Bangor ; Jimmy Callagher – Belfast ; Danny Morgan – Killyleagh ; Conor Doherty – Ballynahinch ; Eoin Boyle – Downpatrick ; Mark Fitzsimons – Downpatrick ; Gareth Buchanan – Gilford ; Aaron Boyd – Newtownards ; Michael Doran – Portaferry ; Jordan Hughes – Bangor ; Luke Melvin – Bangor ; Anthony Morris – Belfast.

Both panels will be cut to 18 players after the pre tournament residential in Dublin.

30th MAY 2006 – MILK CUP DRAW

The draw for the opening 2 days of the Milk Cup was made by former England & Everton defender Dave Watson at the W5 complex in Belfast.

County Down received the following draw:

Monday July 31st v Cruz Azul (Mexico)
Tuesday 1st August v Rapid Vienna (Austria)

Monday 31st July v CSKA Moscow (Russia)
Tuesday 1st August v Shamrock Rovers (Ireland)

See the full draw at the NI Milk Cup Web Page www.nimilkcup.org

1st MAY 2006 – UPDATE

Trials are well underway in all 3 zones with many promising footballers showing through. Please ring trial co-ordinators in your area if you feel you have the ability to play for County Down.

17th APRIL 2006 – UPDATE

With Easter just gone it can only mean one thing. The trials for this years Milk Cup have commenced.

As before the County 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-ordinators here for the Junior Team (born after 1st January 1991) are Mark Cathcart 07891 743741 and for the Premier Team (born after 1st January 1989) Courtney McMullan 07841 803322.

South Down
This area covers Newry, Warrenpoint, Kilkeel, Banbridge, Rathfriland & Dromara.

Trial co-ordinators here are for the Junior Team Linda McAdam 07814 127573 and for the Premier Team Damian McCorry 07740 909603

East Down
East Down covers the Downpatrick, Ballynahinch Carryduff and Annahilt areas and takes in Killyleagh and Comber. Trial co-ordinators for the Junior Team are Frank Mclean 07802 868495 and for the Premier Team Dixie Murray 07747 146191.

If you feel that you have the skill and attitude to play for your County please contact one of the trial co-ordinators.

Once the Zones have selected their respective panels they will play off against each other in front of the Junior and Premier Management panels. All final trial games are at the Billy Neill pitches at Dundonald.

Junior Zone games are as follows:

Thursday 18th May North Down v East Down
Tuesday 23rd May East v South
Thursday 25th May South v North
Monday 29th May Final Trial

Premier Zone games are as follows:

Tuesday 16th May North (B) v South
Thursday 18th May North (A) v East
Saturday 20th May South v North
Tuesday 23rd May East v South
Friday 26th May Final Trial

The Milk Cup will once again take place in the North West area commencing 31st July and the Team will be based in the Lodge Hotel, Coleraine.

Key dates for your diary in County Down’s preparation for this years Milk Cup

Monday 29th May – Final Trial Games
Tuesday 30th May – Milk Cup draw at W5 Odyssey
Tuesday 6th June – Parents Night at Ballynahinch Centre
Saturday 17th June – Mourne Cup Tournament (Juniors)
Friday 23rd June – Dublin Pre Tournament Weekend
Sunday 30th June – Milk Cup report date Lodge Hotel
Monday 31st July – Friday 4th August Milk Cup week


alex ferguson

Junior Manager Paul Ritchie and Junior Coach Kyle Spiers meet Manchester United Manager Alex Ferguson at the Bertie Peacock Bursary Dinner.


At the November meeting the committee unanimously elected both Managers back into post after their success in the 2005 Tournament. The Managers then selected their staff for the 2006 tournament.

paul ritchie

Junior Team Manager Paul Ritchie

Damian McCorry

Premier Team Manager Damian McCorry

Junior Team
Manager: Paul Ritchie
Coach: Kyle Spiers
Physio: Gerard Grant
Kit Man: John Hamilton
Team Attendant: Jeremy Bell

Premier Team
Manager: Damian McCorry
Assistant Manager & Physio: Gary Hazley
Kit Persons: Trevor & Linda McAdam
Team Attendants: Hugh Bonner & Courtney McMullan


At the first meeting after the 2005 Tournament the following officers were elected to serve on the County committee for a further two years.

Chairman – Bobbie Reid
Vice Chair – Ronnie Cromie
Secretary – Jeremy Bell
Treasurer – John Hamilton
PRO – Hugh Bonner
Committee – Courtney McMullan, Damian McCorry, Paul Ritchie, David Taylor, Linda McAdam, Trevor McAdam & Kyle Spiers.