Milk Cup coming to ’Stute
PREMIER League big boys Liverpool are on their way to Drumahoe, as the Milk Cup goes west to help the Maiden City celebrate its city of culture status.
And Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill is urging fans to back the national side in their clash with the USA at Institute’s Riverside Stadium on Wednesday, July 31.
It will be the first time the Milk Cup has staged matches in the Derry City Council area and organisers have decided to take two top games to Drumahoe with Liverpool facing County Armagh in the Premier competition on Monday, July 29 (8pm) followed by the Elite game between Northern Ireland and the US two days later.
Milk Cup chairman Victor Leonard explained: “We were approached by both organisers of the UK City of Culture celebrations and the City Council to see if we would consider the move.
“We felt that if was thought we could help enhance further the already extensive programme of events then we would endeavour to answer the call.”
With Institute FC coming on board to offer their excellent facilities, Milk Cup committee members and the club quickly got down to business.
Michael O’Neill believes it is exciting news for the North West: “We have always received terrific support for our teams at the Milk Cup and I believe this gives football supporters in Derry and the surrounding region a great opportunity to see some of the stars of the future right on their doorstep,” he said.
“I hope football people come out and enjoy both games. I know Liverpool are a big draw even at Under-17 level. In years gone by players such as Robbie Fowler and Steve McManaman played in the Milk Cup.”
Institute president Charles Ferguson added: “This is another important milestone for our club. We have seen major development of our facilities in recent years and we believe we have the ideal venue to host such prestigious games.
“We are looking forward to playing host to Liverpool, Northern Ireland, the USA and County Armagh during the tournament.”
The Mayor of Derry, Councillor Kevin Campbell, said: “Football has played such a major part in defining our history and we have produced some fine players down the years.
“It is encouraging to see an internationally recognised event such as the Milk Cup playing its part in the city’s celebrations.”
The Milk Cup’s welcome parade of participating teams begins at the Diamond in Coleraine on Sunday, July 28, with finals night on Friday, August 2, at Ballymena Showgrounds.
Elite Section Fixtures: Monday 29 July - N Ireland v Denmark (KO 8pm Showgrounds, Coleraine), USA v Mexico (KO 8pm Riada Stadium, Ballymoney). Wednesday 31 July - Mexico v Denmark (KO 8pm Showgrounds, Ballymena), USA v N Ireland, (KO 8pm Riverside Stadium, Drumahoe). Friday 2 August - Denmark v USA (KO 1.30pm Scroggy Road, Limavady); N Ireland v Mexico (KO 6pm Showgrounds, Ballymena). For all Milk Cup fixtures check out the official website at www.nimilkcup.org.