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Tyrone SuperCupNI campaign weeks away

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Tyrone SuperCupNI campaign weeks away thumbnailThe Tyrone SuperCupNICompetition Junior and Premier teams and officials who were hosted by Mid-Ulster District Council at Dungannon council offices,

THE 2017 SuperCupNI is now under two weeks away, and the preparations are almost complete for the Tyrone Premier and Junior squads.

Tyrone's campaign was officially launched at a reception at the Mid-Ulster Council offices in Dungannon last week, which was attended by Mid-Ulster District Council chair, Kim Aston, and Derry and Strabane District Council chair, Maoliosa McHugh.

After the opening ceremony on Sunday, June 23, the competition proper gets underway the next day, Monday June 24, with teams from all over the world of football venturing to Northern Ireland's north coast to take part in one of the most acclaimed youth football tournaments in the world.

David Harvey's Premier charges will take on Chinese newcomers Beijing Morning Star United on the opening day in a televised game at Ballymena Showgrounds, before facing reigning champions O'Higgins on Tuesday and concluding their qualifying campaign with a Northern Irish derby against 2015 winners County Antrim.

In the Junior draw, Martin Gallagher's Junior side have three intriguing clashes, with their stand-out tie a feisty derby clash with Co. Derry on Wednesday at Coleraine's Anderson Park. The Red Hands will open the competition with a game against tournament regulars Plymouth Argyle at Limavady's Scroggy Road, while on Tuesday, they will take on MS Sports from New Zealand at Castlerock. The Kiwi select side took on Tyrone in the opening game last year and were narrowly defeated by 1-0 thanks to an Adam Young penalty.

For Tyrone chairman Francis Devine, the hard work and planning well underway since September last year.

"We had our AGM in September, and it starts from there.The competition only lasts a week but there is a lot more work put in. We have been raising thousands of pounds for the campaign, most recently with collections at the Asda stores in Cookstown and Strabane.

"We have all our preparations in place, our accommodation in Bushmills, caterers laid on and buses sorted. The parents have to take a lot of credit too. The amount of mileage they've put in is unreal, from the start of the selection process right up to the tournament.

"The guys are now away playing a few more friendlies and getting motivated, keeping injury-free. The boys are all looking forward to it, they've got all their new gear from Allan Gregg from Schimmell Distribution. We always pride ourselves on turning out well at the parade."

Devine praised the organisers of the competition, formerly known as the Milk Cup, which is now in its 35th year. "It started out with 15 teams and now there are over 50 teams from across five continents. It is one of the biggest youth tournaments about, and that is a credit to the SuperCup committee."

Looking ahead to the week's football, the chairman is aware of the tough assignments the Premier squad in particular face, but believes he Tyrone's chances rely on a positive start.

"County Antrim will be a physical strong side, but we don't know what Beijing will be like. They could have 11 Cristiano Ronaldo's, we'll not know until we see them. We do know O'Higgins will be very technical and fit team, they'll play good football and will be very difficult.

"We have a short time together, 30 days prior to the draw, while some of these teams have been together for a few years. The first thing is to win your first game and take it from there. It sets a good standard for the rest of the week."

Squads

Junior: Callum MacGregor, Lee McCullagh, Ben Gallagher, Ethan McGee, Connor Williamson, Marito Marcal, Connor Williamson, Fintan Coney, Cameron Faulkner, Ronan McAleer, Matthew Doherty, Peter Bell, Matthew McIlwaine, Matthew Thomas Smith, Corey Lindsay, Ronan McGinley, Oran McGrath.

Premier: Adam Pollock, Daniel Boyle, Ciaran Magee, John Scott, Matthew Glendinning, Anthony McCullagh, Tyler Anderson, Aodhan Bishop, Niall McGinley, Fearghal McGarrity, Adam Young, Andrew Scott, George Curran, Sean Graham, Sean Graham, Torigh Nicolas, Eoin Gallagher, Jamie Burke, Thomas Mullen

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