2009 Tournament

Sunday 6th December 2009 – Peacock award helps County Down support NI Cancer Fund for Children

Peter Topping, youth programme manager for the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children, presents a certificate to County Down Milk Cup Committee PRO Barry Greene in recognition of the County’s £1,500 donation to the charity’s Shimna Valley Holiday home outside Newcastle. Included are Milk Cup Committee members Jim Sandford, Jim Weir and County Down chairman Bobbie Reid.

Children living with cancer are benefiting from a donation from the County Down Milk Cup Committee. Representatives of the County teamed up with organisers of the international youth football tournament in providing a donation of £1,500 towards equipment for the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children’s Shimna Valley Holiday home outside Newcastle.

Two County Down players, Aaron Burns and Ben Oliver, scooped the Bertie Peacock Foundation award presented to the best County player at the Ulster international youth football tournament. The donation represents monies set aside by the Foundation to perpetuate the memory of former Celtic and Northern Ireland player Peacock who was a founding member of the tournament in 1983. The Foundation award to the winning players’ county is for onward designation to a charity of their choice.

County Down chairman Bobbie Reid said: “The Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children offers practical, emotional and financial support to children and young people up to and including the age of 21, who are living with cancer, and their families and we thought it was a most worthwhile cause to benefit from this generous award.”

Two children are diagnosed with cancer every week in Northern Ireland, leaving two more families to cope with a level of devastation that is almost impossible for most of us to comprehend. The holiday house at Shimna Valley, Newcastle, is a dedicated respite centre providing for the entire family, including siblings of the child suffering from cancer. Youth Programme Manager, Peter Topping, accepted the donation on behalf of the NI Cancer Fund for Children.Milk Cup secretary Jim Weir said: “The players selected to receive the awards secure a one-year kit sponsorship with Umbro as well as a Tyrone Crystal award.”We felt the Foundation’s role was best served by empowering the County Committees whose players are chosen as recipients to support a worthwhile charity in their area.”We are grateful to Umbro for their continuing support in this venture and we wish both players every success in their future careers.”

Sunday 2nd August 2009 – Ballot winners

Dublin weekend – Sally Cunningham, Kilkeel
Lodge weekend – Paul McIlrath, Belfast
Mountain bike – P Lowry, Banbridge
Signed NI shirt – David Nelson, Belfast
DVD player – S Annett, Bangor
Iron – B Gracey Snr

Friday 31st July 2009 – County Down make history at 2009 Milk Cup

Down reinforced their position as the top county at the 2009 Milk Cup in Coleraine. A series of quality performances ensured that Down made history by becoming the first-ever county to make it into the Milk Cup quarter-finals in both age groups in the same year.

The Junior team finished 6th overall and picked up the award for the most successful Irish team. The Premier side was put out of the main competition by finalists Sheffield United and finished 8th.

Chairman Bobbie Reid presented the players with county medals at the awards ceremony afterwards. He congratulated the boys on their attitude and behaviour throughout a hard but enjoyable week.

Friday 31st July 2009 – Milk Cup Day Five – Defeats for both sides on final day

David Morgan and the Chelsea skipper

County Down Junior 0 Chelsea 2

A tired County Down side had to settle for 6th place in the Milk Cup after losing to Chelsea at the Riada Stadium in Ballymoney.

George Bowerman scored a goal in each half to give Premiership giants Chelsea a comfortable win.

Team: Brennan, Egerton, McKinney , Healey, McCullough, Morgan, Cockcroft, Conlan, McCartan, Muldrew, Sills
Subs: Dawson, McGarry, Nelson, Lai, Armstrong

Craig Paterson watches on as Desportivo go on the offensive

County Down Premier 0 Desportivo Brasil 3

The ‘Boys from Brazil ’ turned on the style to beat County Down in horrific conditions in the 7th/8th play-off in Broughshane.

Desportivo scored directly from a 13th minute Felipe Alves corner. Rodrigo Silva doubled the lead just before the break.

Orlando dos Reis sealed the victory with five minutes remaining.

Team: Duffin, Battersby, Murdock, Robinson, McConville, Paterson, Burns, Cooling, Monan, Scannell, Brown
Subs: Harrison , Gracey, Edgar, Malcolm-Bourne, Adair

Thursday 30th July 2009 – Milk Cup Day Four – Juniors to face Chelsea/Premier team lose on penalties

Stuart Muldrew is congratulated after scoring his second goal of the game against Swindon

County Down Junior 3 Swindon Town 2

A Stuart Muldrew brace helped County Down ’s Juniors beat Swindon at the Warren in Portstewart on Thursday afternoon. The local lads almost let a three goal lead slip from their grasp, but managed to hold on for victory.

Aaron Sills got on the end of a Shay McCartan cross to open the scoring after just two minutes.

Sills provided the assist for the second goal which came four minutes after the restart. Luke Conlan nodded down and Sills mishit shot fell perfectly for Muldrew to tap home.

With six minutes of the match remaining Muldrew struck for the second time. Sills provided the cross from the left and Muldrew timed his run before converting at the back post.

County Down conceded two goals in the last three minutes but just about held on to set up a 5th/6th place play-off with English Premiership giants Chelsea.

Team: Dawson , Egerton, McKinney , Nelson, McCullough, Armstrong, Cockcroft, Conlan, McCartan, Muldrew, Sills
Subs: Brennan, McGarry, Healey, Lai

Shane Harrison’s two penalty saves couldn’t prevent defeat to South Coast Bayern

County Down Premier 0 South Coast Bayern 0
(South Coast Bayern won 4-3 on penalties)

The Premier team ‘snatched defeat from the jaws of victory’ after an agonising penalty shoot-out at the Warren .

Jonathan Scannell and Andrew Burns went close with first-half shots.

Stephen Brown and substitute Craig Paterson threatened after the break but the game finished scoreless.

Shane Harrison excelled in the penalty shoot-out and made two superb saves. Harrison, Rory Battersby, Adam Robinson and Jamie Edgar all had penalties to win the match but missed. The South Coast Bayern keeper saved from Edgar to give the Americans a 4-3 win.

Team: Harrison , Battersby, Murdock, Robinson, McConville, Malcolm-Bourne, Burns, Cooling, Adair, Scannell, Brown
Subs: Duffin, Paterson, McFerran, Gracey, Edgar

Wednesday 29th July 2009 – Milk Cup Day Three – Despair as both sides are beaten in Milk Cup quarter-finals

County Down Junior 1 Club Pachuca 3

County Down lost to arguably the best team in the Junior competition in the Milk Cup quarter-final at the University of Ulster in Coleraine.

The Mexican outfit were a polished outfit and a pleasure to watch – one of the most gifted teams to grace the Junior section of the tournament in recent years.

Marco Bueno gave the South American’s a 4th minute lead, his shot deflecting in off Philip Egerton.

County Down soaked up wave after wave of attack. Centre-back Thomas Healey cleared the ball off the line in the 16th minute.

David Morgan’s free-kick was easily gathered by the Pachuca keeper three minutes later. Andrew Mitchell then went agonisingly close with a lob which looked goal-bound but just missed the target.

Down levelled on the stroke of half-time. Stephen Cockcroft’s inswinging corner was headed in by Healey.

Mitchell could have made it 2-1 to County Down when the visiting keeper could only parry Morgan’s free-kick. He stabbed his shot wide.

Pachuca dominated proceedings thereafter and went in front courtesy of a Julio Gomez header with 12 minutes remaining.

With nine minutes to play, Marco Bueno got his 2nd of the game from 20 yards to extend the Mexican’s lead to 3-1.

Team: Brennan, Egerton, Healey, McKinney , McCullough, Lai, Morgan, Conlan, Cockcroft, Mitchell, McCartan
Subs: Dawson, Nelson, Sills, Muldrew, McGarry, Armstrong

Adam Robinson leads County Down out against Sheffield United

County Down Premier 1 Sheffield United 3

The Premier team were defeated by an average Sheffield United side at Mullaghacall on Wednesday. Donald Malomo-Paris’ side finished the game with just nine men in a tense encounter.

County Down went into the match missing suspended pair Andrew Burns and Craig Cooling from their midfield.

Michael Monan forced a save from the Sheffield keeper after just 12 minutes.

But it was United who took the lead when Jordan Slew’s strong run and shot swerved past Jack Duffin in the Down goal.

Monan was harshly sent off for a second bookable offence after 44 minutes and County Down were forced to chase the game after that.

Sheffield United doubled their lead four minutes later when Shane Murray sent a 20 yard free-kick past substitute keeper Shane Harrison.

Jonathan Scannell’s introduction brought new life to the locals. The Newcastle lad pulled a goal back with 8 minutes remaining. Kurtis Kane’s searching free-kick was only half-cleared, and Scannell buried the ball with his right foot.

County Down were reduced to nine men when Kane received a second yellow with two minutes left.

United sealed their passage into the semi-finals in added time when Liam Wilkinson fired past Harrison from 10 yards.

Team: Duffin, Battersby, Murdock, Kane, McConville, Robinson, Edgar, Malcolm-Bourne, Monan, McFerran, Gracey
Subs: Harrison, Brown, Paterson, Scannell, Adair

Tuesday 28th July 2009 – Milk Cup Day Two – Both squads make it through to last 8 as Down are the only County still standing!

Action between the Juniors and North Dublin Schools

County Down Juniors 2 North Dublin Schoolboy League 0

County Down progressed into the Northern Ireland Milk Cup quarter-finals with a comfortable 2-0 victory over the North Dublin Schoolboy League.

Stephen Cockcroft and David Morgan fired early warning shots which failed to find the net.

Cockcroft set up Shay McCartan for the opener after 16 minutes. McCartan collected the ball with a sublime first touch before burying the ball past the Dublin keeper.

The score remained that way until half-time.

McCartan had a shot cleared off the line nine minutes after the restart and then David Morgan saw his shot rebound off the upright.

Substitute Andrew Mitchell wrapped the game up with 12 minutes remaining. Luke Conlan drove forward and after losing control, the loose ball fell to Mitchell who rifled the ball into the roof of the net.

Shay McCartan could have made it 3-0 in the last minute, but be guided his shot straight at the opposition keeper.

Team: Dawson , Egerton, Healey, McKinney , McCullough, Lai, Morgan, Conlan, Cockcroft, Sills, McCartan
Subs: Brennan, Nelson, Mitchell, Muldrew, McGarry, Armstrong

The BBC cameras in the thick of the action ahead of the Watford match

County Down Premier 1 Watford 1

The Premier squad continued to defy the doubters as they qualified for the Milk Cup quarter-finals with a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Watford at the Ballymena Showgrounds in the live tv match.

Michael Monan tested the Hornets keeper Jonathon Bond in the 3rd minute, but his shot was well saved.

Watford were desperately unlucky not to have taken a 5th minute lead. The Academy side first hit the post through Trey Horne only for Gavin Massey to slam the rebound off the crossbar.

County Down took the lead against the run of play with a well-worked set-piece after 20 minutes. Craig Cooling’s pinpoint free-kick to the back post was headed home by Andrew Burns for his 3rd goal in three games.

Bustling centre-forward Gavin Massey was causing all sorts of problems for the Down defence and almost equalised five minutes after the restart but his 30 yard shot went narrowly wide.

Watford pushed forward in the second half and drew level after 55 minutes when Chez Isaac crossed for Horne to head home.

Burns went close with another header from a Cooling free-kick soon after and Watford hit the bar with just six minutes left.

The locals could have stolen the match three minutes later when Stephen Brown’s free-kick clipped the top of the Watford bar.

Like the Juniors, Down qualified as the only county to make the last eight of the competition. Craig Cooling and Andrew Burns will miss the quarter-final clash with Sheffield United after picking up their 2nd yellow cards of the tournament.

Team: Duffin, Murdock, Robinson, Kane, McConville, Scannell, Monan, Burns, Adair, Cooling, Gracey
Subs: Harrison, Brown, Edgar, Malcolm-Bourne, Battersby, Paterson , McFerran

Monday 27th July 2009 – Milk Cup Day One – County Down ‘do the double’ over Russian opponents

County Down’s Junior and Premier squads kicked-off the Northern Ireland Milk Cup with convincing wins on Monday. The Junior team beat Spartak Moscow 2-0 at the Riada Stadium in Ballymoney. In the evening match at the Coleraine Showgrounds, the Premier side recorded an impressive 4-1 victory over another Russian outfit, Trudovye Reservy.

The Junior team that beat Spartak Moscow 2-0

County Down Junior 2 Spartak Moscow 0

The Junior team went into Monday’s match unbeaten in nine warm-up fixtures and continued that good form with a fantastic 2-0 win against Spartak Moscow.

Down dominated proceedings in the opening half without scoring. Andrew Mitchell and David Morgan went close early on.

Mitchell provided Stephen Cockcroft with a glorious chance after 10 minutes only for the latter to rush his shot and the opportunity went begging.

Down continued to press and Mitchell cracked the upright a minute later before heading over from Stephen McCullough’s cross on the left.

The game continued in the same vein and Ryan Craig pulled a shot wide moments after the restart.

The locals got a deserved opener four minutes later. Shay McCartan laid the ball off for midfielder Luke Conlan to bury the ball home with his usually-unfavoured right foot from 18 yards.

McCartan stung the Russian keeper’s hands soon after, and skipper David Morgan tried his luck with an audacious 35 yard lob, but the Spartak stopper did well to tip the ball over the bar.

County Down doubled their lead with nine minutes left. Cockcroft sent in a tantalising cross for substitute Aaron Sills to score from close range.

The Russian side were reduced to ten men late on, and Down held out for a dream start to the competition.

Team: Brennan, Egerton, McCullough, Healey, McKinney, McCartan, Conlan, Craig, Mitchell, Morgan, Cockcroft
Subs: Dawson, Lai, McGarry, Sills, Armstrong, Muldrew

The Premier side that recorded a convincing 4-1 win over Trudovye Reservy

County Down Premier 4 Trudovye Reservy 1

The Premier team came from behind to beat Trudovye Reservy 4-1 in a feisty encounter at the Showgrounds in Coleraine.

The Russian side stormed into a 4th minute lead when Striker Artem Filatov beat Jack Duffin with a 20 yard free-kick.

County Down responded with interest and equalised just 5 minutes later. Jonathan Scannell picked out captain Andrew Burns to score with a bullet-like header at the back post.

Luke Adair’s 40 yard crossfield pass led to County Down’s second goal after 22 minutes. Scannell again provided the pass to Andrew Burns who was upended in the area. The referee awarded the penalty – which Rory Battersby confidently dispatched.

The tempo of the game dropped in the early stages of the 2nd half. Down goalkeeper Jack Duffin was equal to a long-range Trudovye free-kick, which he tipped over the crossbar.

The locals scored a 3rd goal with four minutes of the match remaining. Jamie Edgar’s corner from the right was headed in by centre-half Kurtis Kane.

Andrew Burns doubled his tally for the day with an opportunist injury-time goal. Duffin sent a long punt upfield, Burns knocked a header around the keeper before side-footing home to complete a convincing win.

Team: Duffin, Battersby, Kane, Robinson, McConville, Adair, Cooling, Burns, Scannell, Monan, Brown
Subs: Harrison, Edgar, Malcolm-Bourne, McFerran, Murdock, Paterson, Gracey

Friday 24th July 2009 – Paterson called up after Matthews withdrawal

Civil Service striker Craig Paterson has been drafted into the County Down Premier squad as a late replacement for Gareth Matthews who has been forced to withdraw following a knee injury picked up in the defeat to Preston North End. It is desperately unfortunate for the affable Matthews who has been attempting to rehabilitate the knee since sustaining the injury 10 days ago. Everyone connected with County Down wish Gareth a speedy recovery.

Wednesday 22th July 2009 – Premier squad complete build-up with a morale-boosting win

Michael Monan scored the winner

The County Down Premier squad finished their pre-tournament programme with a 2-1 win against a Northern Ireland select side at Greenmount College on Saturday.

After a cagey start from both teams, Northern Ireland almost opened the scoring when a corner from the right was headed onto the bar. County Down regrouped and began to play some flowing football, Jonathan Scannell causing the Northern Ireland defence all sorts of problems, without the end product of a goal.

County Down finally made their superiority count when Scannell received the ball on the left, his first touch took him past the defender. He then cut inside before putting in a cross for Stephen Brown to finish.

Despite creating a hatful of chances, poor finishing kept Northern Ireland in the game. With Down looking to see out the game, they gave away a penalty with just five minutes remaining. The Northern Ireland forward put the ball to Jack Duffin’s right and even though Duffin got a hand to the ball, he could not stop it going in.

As the game seemed to be heading for a draw, County Down scored the eventual winner. Michael Monan picked the ball up on the half-way line with just a minute remaining, his determined run took him past two defenders before he coolly passed the ball beyond the Northern Ireland goalkeeper and into the bottom left hand corner of the net.

This result is the perfect tonic for Donald Malomo-Paris’ side – a perfectly-timed win heading into the clash with the Russians.

Good luck in Coleraine lads!

Saturday 18th July 2009 – Juniors finish preparation with 5-0 win

Photo courtesy of Banbridge Chronicle

The Junior squad swept aside the challenge of Banbridge Town in a facile 5-0 victory at Kilmore on Saturday. Stephen Cockcroft crossed for Aaron Sills to score the opening goal with a diving header. Luke Conlan made it 2-0 with a looping header after the break. It was 3-0 when Shay McCartan scored Down’s 3rd header of the match. Stuart Muldrew increased the lead with a smart finish and McCartan wrapped things up with a 25-yard screamer.

County Down could have won by a bigger margin but for the heroics of James McConville who shone in the Town goal. It means John Bailie’s team head to the Milk Cup unbeaten.

Friday 17th July 2009 – Alex Malcolm-Bourne sponsored by local plastering firm

County Down Premier squad midfielder Alex Malcolm-Bourne recently accepted a sponsorship cheque from David Topping of R. Topping & Sons Plastering Contractors to assist towards costs for the 2009 Milk Cup.

The tournament starts with the opening ceremony on Sunday, July 26th. The Premier team open their campaign at the Coleraine Showgrounds the following day. The action then moves to the Ballymena Showgrounds as the locals take on Watford.

Premier section – Fixtures/Venues
Monday 27th July – Co.Down v Trudovye Rezervy – Showgrounds, Coleraine, 6pm
Tuesday 28th July – Co.Down v Watford – Showgrounds, Ballymena, 7pm

Junior section – Fixtures/Venues
Monday 27th July – Co.Down v Spartak Moscow – Riada 2, Ballymoney, 3.30pm
Tuesday 28th July – Co.Down v North Dublin SL – Parker Avenue, Portrush, 1.30pm

Friday 17th July 2009 – Carson makes first Sunderland start/Howland scores for Port Vale

Northern Ireland Under-21 keeper Trevor Carson made his first-team debut in Sunderland’s 4-0 win over Darlington in their first pre-season game on Thursday evening. The Killyleagh-born stopper represented County Down in the 2002 and 2003 Milk Cup tournaments and played 90 minutes at the Northern Echo Arena. Northern Ireland striker David Healy played the first half in Steve Bruce’s first game in charge.

Meanwhile, David Howland scored a 20-yard equaliser in Port Vale’s 1-1 draw with Telford on Tuesday night. David, who played for County Down in the 2002 Milk Cup assisted the Junior squad this year in the close season. Well done Trevor and David. More of the same this season please!

Thursday 16th July 2009 – Premier team well beaten by McLellan inspired Preston

Jack Duffin charges out of his goal in the defeat to Preston

Former County Down striker Michael McLellan hit a hat-trick and set up another as Preston beat County Down 5-0 at Dromara Village FC on Tuesday night. Gareth Matthews was forced off after twisting his right knee after just two minutes, Michael Monan came on to replace him.

Kenny Gracey and Craig Cooling missed early chances to put County Down ahead before McLellan opened his account by burying the ball past Jack Duffin after 25 minutes. Down then had to reshuffle their pack for a second time with Rory Battersby replacing centre-half Adam Robinson who came off with a hamstring tweak.

McLellan scored two quickfire goals to make it 3-0, before setting up Preston’s fourth goal with 19 minutes remaining. Preston hit a fifth goal in the dying moments to complete the rout.

Thursday 16th July 2009 – Juniors stage comeback to beat Ards

Stuart Muldrew who scored the winner against Ards

Goals from Mark Armstrong and Stuart Muldrew gave the Junior team a 2-1 victory over Ards Under-16’s in a close encounter at Kilmore on Tuesday night. County Down enjoyed the lion’s share of first half possession, with David Morgan and Timmy Lai going close.

The second half was hotly contested and Ards took the lead from a corner. Down responded through Mark Armstrong, who converted from close range. Influential David Morgan set up the winner soon after. TheNottingham Forest bound midfielder providing the assist for Muldrew to complete the comeback win.

Monday 6th July 2009 – County Down to face Preston North End

Michael McLellan takes on the Plymouth defence at the 2008 Milk Cup

The premier squad continue their Milk Cup preparations on Tuesday evening (14 July) when they face Preston North End at Dromara Village FC (7pm kick-off).

The Preston side will feature Michael McLellan who starred for County Down’s junior team at last year’s competition. McLellan, formerly with Linfield, has signed apprentice forms with North End and will be eager to impress at Deepdale.

Monday 6th July 2009 – Premier team lose out as Ref is centre of attention

Jonathan Scannell – scored with his first touch

County Down lost 4-3 to Dundalk in controversial circumstances on Sunday afternoon.

After the lion’s share of possession, Andrew Burns opened the scoring for County Down on 20 minutes when he directed Craig Cooling’s right wing cross past the Dundalk keeper.

Dundalk equalised moments later when Down failed to defend a free kick. The set piece was floated in from the right and was flicked on at the near post leaving the Dundalk forward to nod in from three yards out.

Despite playing the better football Down conceded again, this time the referee allowed an obvious offside to go which left the Dundalk forward with only Jack Duffin to beat, and he placed it low into the bottom right hand corner of the net.

Half time – Dundalk 2 County Down 1

County Down were ‘still in the changing room’ as they conceded two quickfire goals within two minutes of the restart. The game was seemingly out of Down’s reach but a minute later, substitute Jonathan Scannell pulled a goal back with his first touch.

County Down continued to move the ball into good areas without punishing the Dundalk defence, with Dundalk’s only threat coming from the referees interpretation of the offside rule.

With 20 minutes remaining Andrews Burns doubled his tally for the day. Burns found himself free on the right and drove inside beating a defender on the way, before passing the ball across the keeper into the bottom left hand corner of the net.

Moments later County Down thought they had a penalty and the chance to equalise when Matthew McFerran was blatantly upended inside the Dundalk box. However to everyone’s amazement, the referee waved play on.

With Dundalk now feeling the pressure, some rash tackles were made and with five minutes left Dundalk were reduced to 10 men after their aggressive left back was dismissed for an off the ball incident.

Full time – Dundalk 4 County Down 3

Sunday 5th July 2009 – Juniors maintain unbeaten run

Shay McCartan – One goal and one assist.

The Junior team confidently beat a Downpatrick Youth League select 3-1 at Kilmore on Saturday.

Good work on the left by Stephen Cockcroft led to County Down’s opener after just five minutes. Andy Mitchell was on hand at the back post to stab the ball home.

The Downpatrick Youth League side came more into the match in the 2nd half. Michael Burns could have equalised but shot straight at Carter Dawson.

Shay McCartan then set up Cockcroft who drove the ball past the keeper to make it 2-nil with 47 minutes played.

Eight minutes later, slack marking in the County Down backline allowed Jordan McCallister to reduce the arrears. But Down made it 3-1 with 12 minutes remaining. McCartan broke the offside trap before cooly slotting into the bottom corner.

Saturday 27th June 2009 – Premier team lose to Antrim

Andrew Burns asks for the ball against County Antrim

County Down lost 2-0 to Antrim in Randalstown on Saturday afternoon. Despite a confident start by County Down, it was the home team who took the lead after a breakaway goal on 15 minutes.

Antrim doubled their advantage on the stroke of half-time when left-back Niall Quinn sent a curling 20-yard free-kick past Shane Harrison in the Down goal.

Friday 26th June 2009 – Juniors beat Antrim at Randalstown

County Down travelled to Randalstown to play County Antrim and ran out 3-nil winners on Thursday evening in their latest warm-up game. The match started at a frantic pace with Antrim seeing a lot of the ball but as the half progressed, Down began to take control. John Bailie’s team maintained a high tempo throughout the first half and at times the Antrim team struggled to cope. Down made the most of this by scoring two goals in the opening half. Andrew Mitchell toe-poked home from five yards to open the scoring, and Shay McCartan added a second soon after following good work by Luke Conlan on the left hand side. McCartan then beat his marker and converted from 8 yards. The second half started in similar fashion and when David Morgan added an excellent third from 22 yards, the game was over. County Down defended well and Carter Dawson made a great save with five minutes remaining to deny County Antrim a consolation. This was a very good performance by County Down with everyone contributing.

Monday 22nd June 2009 – Both squads to play Antrim in Randalstown

County Down have agreed to play County Antrim at both Premier and Junior level.

Thursday 25th June 2009
Junior game will take place at Neillsbrook Road Football Pitch in Randalstown. Kick-off is at 7.30pm.

Saturday 27th June 2009
Premier game will take place at Neillsbrook Road Football Pitch in Randalstown. Kick-off is at 1.30pm.

Directions – Out of Belfast on M2 and continue to M22 in direction of Londonderry – turn off at Junction 2 towards Randalstown (A6)

In the centre of town is a set of traffic lights (with Ulster Bank on right hand side) turn right there and then turn left onto Neillsbrook Road – Pitch complex will appear on the right hand side.

Sunday 21st June 2009 – County Down enjoy successful Dublin trip

The Premier and Junior squads went to Dublin for the traditional pre-tournament residential at the weekend before the panels of 18 players were finalised for the Milk Cup at the end of July. Here is how the games panned out….

Junior round-up

The Junior squad went two goals behind before eventually running out 7-2 winners against Ashbourne Under-16’s at Oscar Traynor Park on Friday evening.

County Down conceded twice in the opening 24 minutes, both goals the result of poor defending.

Aaron Sills got a goal back for County Down following good work from Andrew Mitchell and Liam McGarry.

Luke Conlan made it 2-2 just a minute after that, latching onto a loose ball from an Andrew Mitchell cross.

Mitchell got on the scoresheet two minutes into the 2nd half. Aaron Sills then latched on to a long kick-out from James McConville to make it 4-2

Stephen McCullough extended the lead with an audacious long-range effort from near the halfway line.

Two goals in quick succession in the final minute from Gerard Daly and then Matthew Geddis completed the rout.

On Saturday, the Junior squad earned a credible 2-2 draw against North Dublin Schoolboys League Under-16’s at Oscar Traynor Park.

County Down hit the woodwork on four occasions in the opening half. Philip Egerton’s cross hit the post after ten minutes. Five minutes later, Shay McCartan outpaced his marker before prodding a shot against the upright, and Stephen Cockcroft did the same with the follow-up.

The game continued similar fashion as McCartan set up Stuart Muldrew who thundered a header against the crossbar after 16 minutes.

Muldrew played a major part in County Down’s opening goal two minutes into the 2nd half, forcing the North Dublin centre-half to head into his own net.

With 18 minutes remaining County Down doubled the lead. Timmy Lai ran on to Conor Brennan’s long ball to score.

John Bailie made wholesale changes late in the game. County Down lost some of their shape and conceded two goals to North Dublin who finished strongly.

County Down played out a scoreless draw with North Dublin Schoolboys League Under-15’s on Sunday.

The Junior’s hit the woodwork on the half-hour as Philip Egerton crashed a free-kick against the bar.

Stuart Muldrew had a lob cleared off the line ten minutes into the 2nd half. Muldrew could have scored five minutes later, but his effort from Timmy Lai’s cross went wide from 6 yards.

Shay McCartan was introduced late into the game and made an immediate impact. His run and shot almost opened the scoring with five minutes remaining.

McCartan then won a penalty in the final minute. Stephen Cockcroft’s spot-kick clipped the outside of the post and the referee blew for full-time.

Premier round-up

Adam Robinson with the ROI skipper and officials

County Down’s Premier squad kicked-off the Dublin weekend with a 1-1 draw against Cherry Orchard.

Kurtis Kane’s powerful header was deflected narrowly over the bar early on, before Michael Monan had a half-volley saved by the Orchard keeper. Ben Stanex then tried his luck with a long-range effort but it was well gathered by the opposition keeper.

Cherry Orchard went in front with half-an-hour played. Shane Harrison made a double-save pushing a pinpoint lob onto the bar, but the rebound was converted by the Orchard centre forward.

County Down got a deserved equaliser 5 minutes into the 2nd half. Cherry Orchard failed to clear their lines, and the dropping ball fell to Ben Cullen who rifled it home into the top corner from 20 yards.

The Premier squad was desperately unlucky to lose 3-1 to the Republic of Ireland Under-17’s at Athletic Union League on Sunday.

Jack Duffin’s uncharacteristic error after 11 minutes allowed the Republic striker to lob in the opening goal.

Gareth Matthew’s then tested the Irish keeper with a snap-shot from the edge of the area but the ball was parried to safety.

County Down got a deserved equaliser after 28 minutes. Jonathan Scannell’s corner from the right was only half-cleared, and Gareth Matthews showed good composure to side-foot home at the back post.

Andrew Burns then had a header saved from a Ben Murdock free-kick, as County Down went in search of a second goal.

The Irish keeper did well to keep out Luke Adair’s 73rd minute strike. Adair had a free-kick saved six minutes later.

County Down conceded with just seven minutes left. Shane Harrison’s attempted clearance was charged down by one of the Irish strikers and the ball deflected into the net.

The Republic scored a decisive 3rd goal in the final minute after poor marking from a corner on the right.

The scoreline did little to reflect the closeness of the two teams on the day. It was a terrific effort by the County Down boys and one which will live long in the memory.

Saturday 20th June 2009 – Premier squad beat Glentoran

County Down’s Premier squad beat Glentoran’s Foyle Cup team 1-nil in a friendly at the Kilmore Playing Fields on Tuesday. The winning goal came courtesy of a Stephen ‘Steeky’ Brown shot which gave the visiting keeper no chance. The Premier squad will now aim to replicate that win in Dublin, when Cherry Orchard and the Republic of Ireland provide the opposition.

Monday 15th June 2009 – County Down to play Watford following late Galatasaray withdrawal

Turkish giants Galatasaray have withdrawn from the 2009 Premier Milk Cup tournament. The late decision not to come to the competition is thought to be due to financial difficulties. Championship outfit Watford have stepped in. That all mean’s that Donald Malomo-Paris’ squad will face ‘The Hornets’. Details of the venues for both squads have just been announced.

Premier section – Fixtures/Venues

Monday 27th July – Co.Down v Trudovye Rezervy – Showgrounds, Coleraine, 6pm
Tuesday 28th July – Co.Down v Watford – Showgrounds, Ballymena, 7pm

Junior section – Fixtures/Venues

Monday 27th July – Co.Down v Spartak Moscow – Riada 2, Ballymoney, 3.30pm
Tuesday 28th July – Co.Down v North Dublin SL – Parker Avenue, Portrush, 1.30pm

Sunday 14th June 2009 – Juniors retain Mourne Cup

Carter Dawson receives the Mourne Cup

The County Down Junior team racked up three wins from three games to win the Mourne Cup at the Kilmore Playing Fields on Saturday. Luke Conlan and Stuart Muldrew were on target in a 2-1 win over County Tyrone. Muldrew scored again in a 3-0 win against Dundalk Schoolboys. Mark Armstrong and Andrew Mitchell were also on target. John Bailie’s team beat North Dublin Schoolboys 2-1 in the final match thanks to goals from Stephen Cockcroft and Ryan Craig.

Sunday 14th June 2009 – Premier squad draw with County Londonderry

County Down’s Premier squad played out a scoreless draw with County Londonderry at Millbridge, Ballynahinch on Saturday. The lively Jonathan Scannell had the best chance for County Down, but he failed to get enough elevation on his effort to lob the keeper. The management team were happy with the progress, particularly in keeping a clean sheet – in only their second game together.

Tuesday 2nd June 2009 – Parent’s Information Night

Co.Down PRO Barry Greene with Peter Thompson and David Howland

There was a packed house at the Ballynahinch Community Centre for the Parents Information night. Northern Ireland and Stockport County striker Peter Thompson, who played for County Down at the 2001 Milk Cup, was the special guest. Thompson was joined by Port Vale midfielder David Howland, who represented County Down in the 2002 tournament. Milk Cup chairman Victor Leonard, PRO Jim Sandford and secretary, Jim Weir were also in attendance. Mr Leonard addressed players and parents about the tournament history and his expectations for the 2009 competition.

Saturday 30th May 2009 – Attention players and parents

The County Down Parent’s Information Night will take place on Tuesday, 2 June in the Ballynahinch Community Centre. The event starts at 8pm, and a special guest will be in attendance.

Friday 29th May 2009 – Junior and Premier squads named

The waiting is over! After exhaustive trials throughout the county, both managers have selected their panels up to the pre-tournament residential weekend which takes place in Dublin from 19 to 21 June. After Dublin , both panels must be cut to the pre-requisite 18 players for the Milk Cup proper.

2009 Junior Panel (22 players)

Conor Brennan, Killyleagh; Carter Dawson, Belfast ; James McConville, Gilford.

Philip Egerton, Belfast; Thomas Healey, Downpatrick; Stephen McCullough, Belfast; Adam Magorrian, Newcastle; Joe McKinney, Crossgar; John Nelson, Dundonald.

Mark Armstrong, Cloughey; Stephen Cockcroft, Bangor; Luke Conlan, Portaferry; Ryan Craig, Belfast; Gerard Daly, Downpatrick; Timmy Lai, Belfast; Liam McGarry, Banbridge; David Morgan, Killyleagh.

Matthew Geddis, Dromore; Shay McCartan, Newry; Andrew Mitchell, Waringstown; Stuart Muldrew, Killinchy; Aaron Sills, Belfast.

2009 Premier Panel (23 players)

Jack Duffin, Belfast ; Shane Harrison, Annalong; Dean McGibbon, Dundonald.

Rory Battersby, Banbridge; Carl McConville, Belfast; Jamie Edgar, Belfast; Kurtis Kane, Belfast; Bradley Morton, Bangor; Ben Murdock, Dromore; Adam Robinson, Carryduff.

Luke Adair, Kircubbin; Andrew Burns, Banbridge; Craig Cooling, Bangor; Benjamin Cullen, Clough; Alexander Malcolm-Bourne, Comber; Gareth Matthews, Belfast; Matthew McFerran, Ballywalter; Michael Monan, Crossgar; Jonathan Scannell, Newcastle.

Stephen Brown, Dundonald; Kenneth Gracey, Dromore; Craig Paterson, Belfast ; Ben Stanex, Bangor.

Thursday 28th May 2009 – It’s a Russian revelation for County Down

Junior squad fixtures
Monday 27 July: County Down v Spartak Moscow (Russia)
Tuesday 28 July: County Down v North Dublin Schoolboy League (ROI)

Premier squad fixtures
Monday 27 July: County Down v Trudovye Rezervy (Russia)
Tuesday 28 July: County Down v Galatasaray (Turkey)

The draw for the 27th Milk Cup took place in W5 at the Odyssey, Belfast , on Thursday, 28th May. Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp and Huddersfield Town boss Lee Clark were the special guests.

Russian outfit Spartak Moscow provide the opposition for the County Down Junior squad on Monday, 27th July. The following day, County Down face the North Dublin Schoolboy League. The Junior squad finished 3rd last year, and were beaten only once by eventual winners Everton. Former Ards captain John Bailie was recently installed as manager, and knows that his crop of players have it all to do to equal or better last year’s performance. “The boys were outstanding at the last Milk Cup. We have a completely new squad now and these players will be out to show that they can be just as successful.”

Bailie went on to say that he was pleased with the draw. “Obviously with Spartak Moscow being previous winners, they will be hard to beat. North Dublin Schoolboys will probably play a similar brand of football to us. But I’ve no doubt that we will compete with both sides.”

The County Down Premier squad also begin the tournament against Russian opposition – in the form of Trudovye Rezervy. The attention then switches to the game on Tuesday, 28th July, when the locals face Turkish giants Galatasaray.

Premier boss Donald Malomo-Paris said he was excited by the prospect of facing two sides with distinct European flavours. “We meet a side from Russia on the Monday and play one of the top teams from Turkey the following day. It’s exactly what the Milk Cup is all about.”

Malomo-Paris, who led the 2008 Premier side to BT Trophy glory in his first year in charge, said he can’t wait for the action to get going. “Our provisional squad of 23 players were in for their first training session at Kilmore on Saturday. We have plenty of hard sessions and warm-up matches to get through between now and the competition. But I have every faith in these lads.”

The 2009 Northern Ireland Milk Cup starts with the opening parade on Sunday, 26th July. Matches run from Monday, 27th to Friday, 31st July.

Saturday 25th April 2009 – Dates for your diary

Premier Team (Under 17)

Tuesday 5 May 2009 – County Down Training squad v Glentoran Under-18, Bangor Sportsplex (Ballykillaire), 7pm ko

Tuesday 19 May 2009 – Final trial selection, Clandeboye Park, Bangor, 7pm ko

Saturday 30 May 2009 – 1st Training for County Down Premier squad, Kilmore Playing Fields, Crossgar

Friday 19 June to Sunday 21 June – Dublin pre-tournament weekend

Junior Team (Under 15)

Saturday 16 May 2009 – Zonal trial – North Down v South Down, Clandeboye Park, Bangor, 2.30pm ko

Tuesday 19 May 2009 – Zonal trial – East Down v North Down, Billy Neill Soccer Centre of Excellence (Dundonald)

Thursday 21 May 2009 – Zonal trial – East Down v South Down, Cheney Park, Banbridge (through the Coach car park in Church Square). This match will be played on a 3G pitch. Please park in the Coach car park. Players to be there for 6.30pm for 7pm ko

Saturday 23 May 2009 – Final trial selection, Clandeboye Park, Bangor, 11am ko

Saturday 13 June 2009 – Mourne Cup competition, Kilmore Playing Fields, Crossgar

Friday 19 June to Sunday 21 June – Dublin pre-tournament weekend

Other key dates

Thursday 28 May 2009 – Milk Cup draw at W5 Complex, The Odyssey, Belfast

Tuesday 2 June 2009 – Parents Information Night, Ballynahinch Community Centre, Ballynahinch, 8pm – Plus special guest

Sunday 26 July – Opening Ceremony & Milk Cup report date, Lodge Hotel, Coleraine

Saturday 18th April 2009 – Manchester United and Northern Ireland return for Milk Cup 2009

Northern Ireland internationals and former Milk Cup stars Aaron Hughes, David Healy and Andrew Little with the chairman of the Dairy Council, David Ross and Milk Cup chairman Victor Leonard.

After Beckham, Neville, Giggs, Fletcher, Brown and Macheda, Ulster is standing by for an invasion of Manchester United’s new generation of wannabes.

Boss Sir Alex Ferguson has championed the cause of Northern Ireland’s Milk Cup tournament and blooded some of his biggest names there before anyone knew who they were.

Fergie expressed his delight when United won the Premier title at Coleraine last summer and has rubber stamped the club’s entry again this year.

Over the years the tournament has also witnessed homegrown rising stars such as United defender Jonny Evans, Northern Ireland skipper Aaron Hughes and striker David Healy.

Elite title holders Northern Ireland have also confirmed their entry in the Under-20 section.

Milk Cup chairman Victor Leonard says: “Manchester United bring some fabulously talented players and of course we had confirmation in the last few days ago of how good a player striker Federico Macheda is after his wonderful Milk Cup tournament last year.”

Dr. Mike Johnston, chief executive of the main sponsors the Dairy Council for Northern Ireland, says: “The interest generated by both teams over the week is incredible.

“We are proud to continue our backing for the event which is vitally important not only as a major sporting event but also plays a key role in terms of attracting tourists here from right across the globe.”

United have been supporting the competition for many years thanks to a special relationship between United boss Sir Alex Ferguson and former Milk Cup committee member Bertie Peacock, the Celtic and Northern Ireland legend.

Under Steve Beaglehole, Northern Ireland’s Under-20s lifted the Elite crown last year with Rangers’ Andy Little among the stars. Little was recently called up to the senior squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Poland and Slovenia.

Andy says: “The Milk Cup is a great opportunity for younger players to experience international competition at the highest level.”

Northern Ireland favourite David Healy also played at the tournament and says it still rates as one of the best experiences of his remarkable career.

This year’s draw will be made in the W5 Studio at the Odyssey in Belfast on Thursday, May 28, with the competition kicking off at venues around Counties Antrim and Londonderry on Monday, July 27, following the traditional parade of teams and welcome ceremony in Coleraine on Sunday, July 26.

Thursday 19th March 2009 – Junior trials set for big kick-off

The process of selecting the finest players for the County Down Junior squad for the 2009 Northern Ireland Milk Cup is about to begin.

Former Ards and Bangor captain John Bailie was recently installed as the new manager of the Junior team (under 15’s). Raymond Campbell, who played alongside Bailie at Ards, has been named as his assistant. Once assembled, the squad will be aiming to emulate last year’s talented crop of players who managed to finish third overall, behind Wolverhampton Wanderers and eventual winners Everton.

To qualify, boys must have been born on or after 1 January 1994. If you are a coach or parent and you know of a player who has the ability to represent County Down at the world-renowned Milk Cup tournament, which will take place from 26 to 31 July 2009, be sure to contact the respective trial co-ordinator with details of name, date of birth, address of parent/s, contact number, position played and club/school.

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 & Holywood. Trial co-ordinator is Alan Morton (07728 570601).

South Down
This area takes in Newry, Warrenpoint, Kilkeel, Banbridge, Rathfriland and Dromara. Trial co-ordinators are Peter Houston (07867 767787) and Linda McAdam (call or text 07814 127573).

East Down
East Down covers the Annahilt, Ballynahinch, Carryduff, Downpatrick, Newcastle area and takes in Killyleagh and Comber. Trial co-ordinators are Ronnie Cromie (07788 441342) and Barry Greene ( ).

Once the zonal squads have been selected, the respective panels will play against each other in front of the Junior management.

Wednesday 18th March 2009 – Umbro boost for Peacock winner Ben

Ben Oliver with Umbro representative Paul Leeman.

Last year’s County Down Junior team captain Ben Oliver has landed a one-year kit deal with sports outfitters Umbro after winning a coveted award from the Bertie Peacock Foundation.

Defender Ben captained the County Down side to a third overall place in the Junior event, behind Wolverhampton Wanderers and eventual winners Everton. He also picked up the County’s player of the tournament award.

Oliver, now with Linfield, impressed with Northern Ireland under-16s in their Victory Shield games following the tournament. He is an intelligent, classy central defender who has been attracting the attention of a number of cross channel clubs.

Ben was delighted to pick up his Umbro award from another top defender, local representative Paul Leeman, the Glentoran captain.

Paul said: “Umbro are honoured to be involved in supporting the Milk Cup and helping in the development of exciting young local players such as Ben.

“Playing our part in helping remember Bertie Peacock, a legend of the local game, is very special, considering what he achieved as a manager and player along with the untiring work he undertook to promote youth football.”

This is the third year of the Bertie Peacock Foundation awards which are a fitting way of honouring a man who helped establish the Milk Cup back in 1983 along with Jim Weir, now tournament secretary.

Sunday 11th January 2009 – Irish League stalwart Bailie named Junior team manager

John Bailie playing for Bangor

Former Ards and Bangor captain John Bailie has been appointed manager of the Under 15 County Down Milk Cup team. Bailie, who has made over 500 appearances in an Irish League career spanning 14 years, is currently in charge of Bangor Reserves. Raymond Campbell, who played alongside Bailie at Ards, has agreed to come on board as assistant manager. The pair replace Paul Ritchie and Kyle Spiers, who have stepped down after four years at the helm.

“I’m honoured to be given the opportunity to lead the Junior County Down team in the 2009 Milk Cup. Paul and coach Kyle have set a very high standard with the Junior squad, and they will be a difficult act to follow”, he said.

Bailie last played for Bangor in the JJB Sports Irish Premiership in October last year in a 1-all draw with Newry City. He will combine his new position with his managerial commitments with the reserve side at Bangor.

“Along with Raymond, I aim to maintain and hopefully improve on the mark set last year when the team came third behind Everton and Wolves. To say I’m looking forward to getting started is an understatement. I’m hoping that the forthcoming Milk Cup will be a successful one for both County Down squads”, he added.

The 2009 Milk Cup tournament takes place in Coleraine and surrounding areas from Sunday, 26th July, to Friday, 31st July. Players born on or after 1st January 1994 are eligible for the junior age group. Trials for the Junior County Down Milk Cup team will begin at Easter. Details to follow in the local papers and on this website.

Friday 2nd January 2009 – Search begins early for Under 17 squad

The County Down Premier team management has broken with tradition and will begin the process of picking the finest players for the 2009 Northern Ireland Milk Cup squad in January. A preliminary squad of thirty players will be in place by the end of February. This squad will have training sessions during March and April. Following this, a final trial match will take place in May to select 23 players for the provisional squad that will go to the pre-tournament weekend in Dublin.

In previous years, selection began at Easter time, but manager Donald Malomo-Paris, who led last year’s squad to the BT Trophy, is confident that this new approach will bring the Under 17’s to a new level. “It’s a tough competition, especially for the county sides. We play professional academy teams that have large pools of talent to pick from. These boys are training on a full-time basis, and I believe that this move will allow us to be even more competitive”, he added.

Selection for the Junior (Under 15) team will remain as it was, with trials beginning at Easter.

If you are a coach or parent and you know of a player who has the ability to represent County Down at the world-renowned Milk Cup tournament, which takes place from 26 July to 31 July 2009, make sure you contact one of the trial co-ordinators with details of name, date of birth, contact number, position played and club/school.

The Premier squad will be made up of boys born on or after 1 January 1992.

Trials will be split into three Zones as follows:-

North Down
This area covers the whole of Belfast, south of the Lagan and the Ards Peninsula including Bangor & Holywood. Trial co-ordinator is Marc Wilson (07912 484344).

South Down
This area takes in Newry, Warrenpoint, Kilkeel, Banbridge, Rathfriland and Dromara. Trial co-ordinator is Damian McCorry (07740 909603).

East Down
East Down covers the Annahilt, Ballynahinch, Carryduff, Downpatrick, Newcastle area and takes in Killyleagh and Comber. Trial co-ordinator is Dixie Murray (07788 651261).

Once the Zones have selected their respective panels they will play off against each other in front of the Premier team Management for the selection of the training squad of 30 players.

Sunday 31st August 2008 – County Down trio in NI Under-17’s

Three County Down players have been named in the Northern Ireland U17 squad for the trip to Sweden next week for two friendly matches before the important UEFA Championship qualifying games later in September. Aaron Burns, Michael McLellan and Philip McGrath have all been called up by new manager Paul Kee. The games on Tuesday evening (2nd September) and Thursday afternoon (4th September) – both against Sweden in Visby – will give the manager a chance to see the players in action before the bigger games. Aaron Burns was part of the County Down Premier side that won the BT Trophy at this year’s Milk Cup, while Michael McLellan was top-scorer for the Junior team. Philip McGrath played in last year’s Milk Cup, before moving to Oldham Athletic.