Many young players in Northern Ireland dream about playing for their county in the Milk Cup (now Super Cup NI). Mark Haughey was lucky enough to do it 3 times, with Armagh twice as a junior and Down as a senior. Now playing for Linfield, Mark has answered a few questions on his time with County Down
Current Club: Linfield
Previous Clubs: Glenavon
Youth Teams: Banbridge Town, Three Ways FC
Position: Centre Back
Date of birth: 23/01/1991
Place of birth: Newry
In which team and what year/s did you play?
In my first two years I played for County Armagh in the milk cup, in my third and final year I played for County Down in the 2008 Premier Team.
What club side were you playing for when you were selected?
I was playing for Banbridge Town when selected in my first year, then signed for Glenavon after that.
Why did you want to go to milk cup trials?
Always wanted to try and get the experience at playing at the milk cup, to test myself and play against players that played for professional teams.
How did you do at the trials?
As far as I remember I was happy with how I performed at trials, as I got selected each time.
How did the team fare in the tournament?
In the 2 years at Armagh we didn’t really do too well, in my third year with Down we ended up winning the BT trophy at the time which was the trophy below the milk cup.
Do you remember who you roomed with?
I remember the names of the people i roomed with in Armagh, not sure if they are still playing football. But for Down I roomed with Jimmy Callacher who is now my centre back partner at Linfield.
Describe your footballing journey after the Milk Cup to the present day?
I went on to be a part of the Glenavon senior team making my debut at 16, then playing for NI school boys and then signing for Linfield. Thus far I’m delighted with my progress, just hoping to add more winners medals now.
Greatest achievement in football to date?
Playing for Northern Ireland U18s, hopefully I can add more winners medals I have runner up medals during my time at Linfield so it makes me hungrier to get some winners medals.
Who’s the best player you have played with?
The best player I played with would be between two players for me, either Trevor Molloy or Gerard McMahon, they could keep the ball off you in the living room!
Funny enough I’ll always remember playing Ipswich at the milk cup and the guy up front tortured me that day, still have nightmares! Within the league I’d say Liam Boyce.
What advice would you give to those representing County Down at the Milk Cup?
I would say enjoy every minute of it, don’t let it pass you by! It’s a great honour to represent your county and a good window to show clubs how good of a player you can be!
How much of an impact did the competition have on you?
It had a massive impact on me, firstly it got me my move to Glenavon to which I got my Irish League debut from. It also helped progress me as a person and a player.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself we don’t already know?
Silly one really but I’d be a superstitious player, and the one main thing I have to do before a match is make sure I wear the left sock on the right foot and the right sock on the left foot.
Biggest influence on your career?
I could name so many players and managers I have worked with, coming in at a young age to a senior set up. But I would have to mention my Glenavon youth manager Davey Maguire, signed me initially, and every Saturday would drive from Lurgan to Newry to collect me for matches and then drive me home again, it’s only really after that I’ve realised how much that meant and
what he did for me to get where I am now in my career.
Describe your Milk Cup experience in one word…