County Armagh boys relishing plum ties at 2014 Dale Farm Milk Cup

The Draw for the Dale Farm Milk Cup N.I Football Tournament
The Draw for the Dale Farm Milk Cup N.I Football Tournament

Co Armagh landed the plum draw for this season’s Dale Farm Milk Cup and will face holders, Manchester United, in the pool stages of the Premier Section.

The Armagh boys will also be up against Dublin club Bohemians and Australia hopefuls Gold Coast Academy.

The tournament starts with the traditional parade of competing teams through Coleraine on July 27 and concludes with finals night at Ballymena Showgrounds on August 1.

In the Junior competition Liverpool and Rangers will meet in a mouthwatering Dale Farm Milk Cup for the first time this summer.

With Co Armagh also in that group it will prove to be an exciting time for the boys from the Orchard County.

Tuesday’s draw in Belfast paired two of the biggest clubs in the Junior competition at the international youth tournament.

County Down, who have an impressive tournament pedigree, face 2012 Junior winners Brentford and Queen of the South while holders Everton and Brazilian giants SC Corinthians will be early opponents for County Fermanagh.

Former England, Manchester United and Aston Villa striker Dion Dublin assisted organisers at the draw in W5 at the Odyssey and urged young players to grab their moment on a big stage.

“It’s important they get the chance to play in a competition of this stature and test themselves against the best.

“To do that you have to be at your best, you’ve got to shine and listen to your coaches.”

He encouraged young players to put in plenty of graft: “It is all about hard work behind the scenes even when your routine training sessions are finished. That’s how you improve. The great players do that.”

He said that the significant role the Dale Farm Milk Cup plays in helping develop young footballers for the challenges of full-time careers cannot be underestimated.

Dublin, now a respected media pundit, added: “This is a competition that has thrived over three decades because it has sustained its reputation for attracting quality clubs from across the globe and offering them the highest level of competition available.

“Maintaining such a remarkable degree of seriously good entries is impressive but it takes considerable commitment from organisers and they are the ones who are the unsung heroes in the success of this event.

“I am not surprised when I read some of the names of players who have competed in the event over the years. You have back catalogue which I am sure is the envy of many.”

The draw was streamed live to a worldwide audience by BBC Sport NI through its website and tournament chairman Victor Leonard revealed that several exciting innovations are planned to expand the event in the future thanks to the support of new lead sponsors Dale Farm.

Dale Farm, commercial director Jason Hempton said it was pleasing for his company to enable the “hugely positive” event to continue its long assosication with the dairy industry.

“The competition brings together the elements of youth sport, fun and healthy lifestyle.”

He added: “As a country we are small in size but we habe proved that we are also capable of big things, particularly in sport. Our company is similar with Northern Ireland roots and worldwide connections.”

In the Elite Section, Northern Ireland are joined by Mexico, Canada and China.

Dale Farm Milk Cup draw


Everton opponents: Middlesbrough, SC Corinthians [Brazil], Co Fermanagh

Liverpool: Sheffield Utd, Rangers, Co Armagh

Brentford: Watford, Queen of the South, Co Down

Southampton: Santa Marta de Liray [Chile], Motherwell, Co Londonderry

Middlesbrough: Everton, Chivas Guadalajara [Mexico], Co Tyrone

Sheffield United: Liverpool, O’Higgins FC, Donegal SL

Watford: Brentford, Global Premier Soccer [USA], Dundalk SL

Swindon Town: Southampton, Santa Marta de Liray, Co Antrim

SC Corinthians: Everton, Chivas Guadalajara, Co Fermanagh

Rangers: Liverpool, O’Higgins FC, Co Armagh

Queen of the South: Brentford, Global Premier Soccer, Co Down

Motherwell: Southampton , Santa Marta de Liray, Co Londonderry

Chivas Guadalajara: Middlesbrough, SC Corinthians, Co Tyrone

O’Higgins FC: Sheffield Utd, Rangers, Donegal SL

Global Premier Soccer: Watford, Queen of the South, Dundalk SL

Santa Marta de Liray: Swindon Town, Motherwell, Co Antrim

Co Fermanagh: Everton, SC Corinthians, Co Tyrone

Co Armagh: Liverpool, Rangers, Donegal SL

Co Down: Brentford, Queen of the South, Dundalk SL

Co Londonderry: Southampton, Motherwell, Co Antrim

Co Tyrone: Middlesbrough, Chivas Guadalajara, Co Fermanagh

Donegal SL: Sheffield Utd, O’Higgins FC, Co Armagh

Dundalk SL: Watford, Global Premier Soccer, Co Down

Co Antrim: Swindon Town, Santa Marta de Liray, Co Londonerry

Plymouth Argyle: Japan FA, Sydney United,North Dublin SL

Japan FA: Plymouth Argyle, Sydney United, North Dublin SL

Sydney United: Plymouth Argyle, Japan FA, North Dublin SL

North Dublin SL: Plymouth Argyle, Japan FA, Sydney United


Newcastle United: RCD Espanyol [Spain], Funabashi [Japan], Co Londonderry

Partick Thistle: Chertanovo Academy, Craig Bellamy Foundation, Co Down

Brentford: Benfica, Lusaka FA [Zambia], Co Fermanagh

Manchester United: CSKA Moscow, Gold Coast Academy, Co Armagh

RCD Espanyol: Newcastle Utd, Orange County Blues, Cherry Orchard

Chertanovo Football Academy: Partick Thistle, Vendee, Co Antrim

Benfica: Brentford, Club America de Mexico, Co Tyrone

CSKA Moscow: Manchester Utd, Otago [New Zealand], Bohemians

Funabashi [Japan]: Newcastle Utd, Orange County Blues, Co Londonderry

Craig Bellaghy Foundation: Partick Thistle, Vendee [France], Co Down

Lusaka Football Academy: Brentford, Club America de Mexico, Co Fermanagh

Gold Coast Academy: Manchester Utd, Otago, Co Armagh

Orange County Blues: RCD Espanyol, Funabashi, Cherry Orchard

Vendee: Chertanovo, Craig Bellamy Foundation, Co Antrim

Club America de Mexico: Benfica, Lusaka, Co Tyrone

Otago: CSKA Moscow, Gold Coast Academy, Bohemians

Co Londonderry: Newcastle Utd, Funabashi, Cherry Orchard

Co Down: Partick Thistle, Craig Bellamy Foundation, Co Antrim

Co Fermanagh: Brentford, Lusaka, Co Tyrone

Co Armagh: Manchester Utd, Gold Coast Academy, Bohemians

Cherry Orchard: RCD Espanyol, Orange County Blues, Co Londonderry

Co Antrim: Chertanovo, Vendee, Co Down

Co Tyrone: Benfica, Club America de Mexico, Co Fermanagh

Bohemians: CSKA Moscow, Otago, Co Armagh

Elite competition

Northern Ireland, China, Mexico, Canada