Former Irish League star celebrates Premier League International Cup triumph with Crystal Palace

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Former Ballymena United and Larne defender Craig Farquhar celebrated Premier League International Cup glory on Wednesday evening as his Crystal Palace side defeated Jong PSV 1-0 in the final at Selhurst Park.

Farquhar has been an ever-present in Palace’s U21 side since making the move to London from Inver Park in January, playing eight times in Premier League Two against the likes of Aston Villa, Chelsea and Southampton, and also played 90 minutes in the showpiece decider, helping keep a clean sheet against the talented Dutch outfit.

The 21-year-old starred in their quarter-final victory over Wolves and semi-final success against Everton before Palace went on to be crowned champions in a competition which included some of the best club academies in Europe.

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Created ahead of the 2014/15 season, the Premier League International Cup is designed to provide players in English Category One academies with the opportunity to compete against other elite European footballers from their age group.

Craig Farquhar celebrates winning the Premier League International Cup with Crystal Palace. PIC: CPFCCraig Farquhar celebrates winning the Premier League International Cup with Crystal Palace. PIC: CPFC
Craig Farquhar celebrates winning the Premier League International Cup with Crystal Palace. PIC: CPFC

Palace become only the second English club to win the competition – a Manchester City side which included the likes of Kelechi Iheanacho won the inaugural tournament – while they got revenge on PSV for defeat in last season’s final.

Another former Ballymena and Larne centre-back, Kofi Balmer, played in the decider 12 months ago before embarking on loan spells at Port Vale and AFC Wimbledon in the most recent campaign.

This is the latest step in a remarkable rise for Farquhar, who only made his Premiership debut with Ballymena in February 2023 and spent just six months in full-time football at Inver Park before securing a move across the water.

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“It’s massive, massive [for the club] – and for the players as well,” head coach Darren Powell told Palace TV. “I say for the players, but coming here last year and losing the final… we couldn't do it again. We couldn't do it again, and that was the mantra.

“We wanted to, by all means, win it. I mean, it wasn't our best performance, but we were up against a really good side. They were really good side last year, and again, they've just got very good players. And then we rode our luck, yes, but that's football. That's football.

“I said before the game: it's about creating memories. As they go on in their life, life's all about memories, right? And wherever they go in the game, you shouldn't forget these memories.

“This [the Palace Academy] is a school of football. You go into the professional game, and you look back - it's still part of you.

“That's why I said ‘create memories. I know it was a bad memory last year, but let's create a good memory and carry that for the rest of your days.’”

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