Both the Strikers Premier and Junior teams are faced with top competition in the Qualifying Competition of the Milk Cup. Based on their records in the Qualifying Competition, the teams will be separated into groups for the Semi-Final, Place and Final Competitions.
Below is a little background information on the teams our lads will be competing against in Northern Ireland. Our opponents are some of the top football teams in the world, and our boys will have the rare opportunity to play against the best.
Premier Opponents in Qualifying Round
Cherry Orchard - Saturday July 21st
Cherry Orchard Football Club is an Irish football club founded in 1957 in the Dublin suburb of Ballyfermot. The Club, one of the biggest producers of talent in Ireland, is known locally as “The Orchard”. They are linked with Manchester City.
Cherry Orchard entered “schoolboys football” in 1970, when five teams competed in the Dublin and District League. In the 1971-72 season, the under 15A team won a league and cup double and had five players on the Republic of Ireland schoolboys international team.
More than thirty former Orchard players are now with professional clubs in England and Scotland. The club is regarded as one of the top schoolboy outfits in Ireland and regularly supplies players to the underage international sides.
Cherry Orchard has a record of success in schoolboys football at domestic and international level, but the club’s greatest achievement was in July 1993 when Orchard’s under 16 team beat Glasgow Rangers in the final of the Northern Ireland Milk Cup, to add the club’s name to that of Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, who had previously been successful in that prestigious competition. Their current director of football, Christy Hammond, along with his brother Sean, managed orchard’s Milk Cup winning side.
Tottenham Hotspur - Monday July 23rd
Everyone knows the name of one of the most prestigious teams in the English Premier League. The Spurs are one of the big London clubs, playing at White Hart Lane. Tottenham finished fourth in the EPL standings in the 2011-2012 season, only a single point behind Arsenal. Tottenham has been in the news recently, as they have just signed Andre Villas-Boas as the new head coach.
Tottenham is an old club with a glorious history. Tottenham was founded in 1882. They won the FA Cup for the first time in 1901, making it the only non-League club to do so since the formation of the League. Tottenham was the first club in the 20th century to win the League and FA Cup Double, in the 1960-1961 season. After successfully defending the FA Cup in 1962, in 1963 it became the first British club to win a UEFA club competition – the European Winners Cup. In 1967 it won the FA Cup for a third time in the 1960s. In the 1970s Tottenham won the League Cup on two occasions and was the inaugural winner of the UEFA Cup in 1972, becoming the first British club to win two different major European trophies. In the 1980s Spurs won several trophies: the FA Cup twice, the FA Community Shield, and the 1984 UEFA Cup. In the 1990s the club won the FA Cup and the League Cup. When it won the League Cup once more in 2008, it meant that it had won a major trophy in each of the last six decades – an achievement only matched by Manchester United.
Spurs have won the Milk Cup competition twice - in 1990 and in 1996. Spurs did not enter a team for many years but returned two years ago where they won their section but lost in the quarter finals. In the play-offs they finished seventh.
The following article appears on the Spurs’ website:
Spurs and South Coast Strikers meet on Monday evening, 23rd July at Limavady in the second match of this season's Milk Cup competition which starts on the previous Saturday. Spurs' other opponents are the local County Armagh team and Otago from New Zealand.
Spurs played the South Coast Strikers twice in last summer's tournament. They lost the first match played at Ballymena by 1 - 2, the American team scoring a late winner after Spurs had recovered from a goal down. This defeat in the third match of the Milk Cup 2011 denied Spurs the opportunity to play off for the top prize (1st - 4th). Instead, both teams went into the next Group, the play-off for 5th - 8th.
In that section both teams won their next game and so met at Coleraine Showgrounds on the Friday afternoon in the play-off for 5th and 6th. Spurs took the lead through Dominic Ball but Strikers drew level after half-time and the match went to penalties which Spurs won (4 - 2) to lift the Globe trophy.
County Tyrone - Tuesday July 24th
County Tyrone is one of the six counties of Northern Ireland. The name Tyrone is derived from Irish Tír Eoghain meaning "land of Eoghan”. This Eoghan was son of king Niall of the Nine Hostages, and brother of Conall Gulban, who gave his name to the kingdom of Tír Chonaill. Historically, it was anglicized as Tirowen or Tyrowen, which are closer to the Irish pronunciation.
County Tyrone FC is from Strabane, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. Thirty-six players have been selected to represent County Tyrone in the Premier and Junior sectors of the Milk Cup Tournament. The Tyrone coaches, Paul Kee (Junior) and Tommy Canning (Premier), and their teams have been working extremely hard for the last seven months, since Christmas, to prepare for the competition. Despite being a select squad, County Tyrone is a very strong team. Last year, they defeated our Junior boys by the score of 4–0.
Junior Opponents in Qualifying Round
Swindon Town Saturday 21st
Swindon Town Football Club is an English football club based in Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. The club was founded by Reverend William Pitt of Liddington in 1879. They play their home games at The County Ground, with a capacity of 14,700, where they have played for over 100 years. They have been all the way up to the Premiership and down to League Two in their long history. They now play in League One.
On April 25, 2011 Swindon were relegated to League Two. Soon after the season ended, high-profile former player Paolo Di Canio took his first management position at the club. After losing seven of his first thirteen games in charge, Swindon went on a fifteen-match unbeaten run, putting themselves into contention for promotion by the mid-point of the 2011–12 season. After a defeat on Boxing Day 2011 to Torquay United, Swindon broke a club record by winning ten consecutive league games, and by March they were well clear of the chasing pack at the top of League Two. Moreover, Swindon have enjoyed success in both the FA Cup, beating Premiership side Wigan Athletic in the 3rd Round before losing to Championship side Leicester City in the 4th Round, and reaching the Trophy Final at Wembley, where they were runners-up to League One side Chesterfield. Swindon became Champions of League Two and were promoted to League One. In sum, Swindon are now a strong side moving up from relegation.
Swindon are veterans of the Milk Cup, having won the Juniors trophy in 2006 and the B.T. Northern Ireland Trophy 2007. In addition, the Player of the Tournament Award went to Leigh Mills in 2003; the Adidas Golden Boot Award went to Lukas Jutkiewicz in 2004; and the team won the Tayto Most Sporting Team Award in 2005. They will present a strong challenge for the trophy again this year.
County Londonderry Monday 23rd
County Londonderry or County Derry is one of the six counties of Northern Ireland. Coleraine and the University of Ulster are located in County Londonderry. Adjoined to the northwest shore of Lough Neagh, the county covers an area of 2,074 km², with a population of approximately 233,550. It is also one of the thirty-two traditional counties of Ireland, lying within the historical province of Ulster.
The earliest Irish name for the site of the modern city was Daire Calgaich, Old Irish for "oak wood of Calgach", after an unknown pagan. A Celtic Christian monastery was founded there in the sixth century, traditionally attributed to Saint Columba. The name was changed to Daire Coluimb Chille, "oak wood of Columba", first mentioned in the Annals of Ulster for 1121. As the monastic site grew in prominence, the name was reduced to just Doire, later anglicized to Derry. In 1604, "Derrie" was granted its first royal charter as a city by James I of England. Cahir O’Doherty, Irish chieftain of Inishowen, destroyed the settlement in 1608. During the Plantation of Ulster by English and Scottish settlers, a new walled city was built by The Honourable The Irish Society across the River Foyle from the old site. It was renamed Londonderry, in recognition of donations from the livery companies of the City of London; a new charter in 1613 stated "that the said city or town of Derry, for ever hereafter be and shall be named and called the city of Londonderry". The county was created at the same time, largely based on the previous county of Coleraine, and named "Londonderry" after the new county town. A new city charter in 1662 confirmed the name "Londonderry".
The names of Londonderry and Derry are disputed between Irish nationalists and unionists. Generally, although not always, one will find nationalists using the name Derry, and unionists using Londonderry. Legally, the city and county are called "Londonderry", while the local government district is called "Derry".
At the Premier Level, in 2000 and 2010, County Londonderry won the B.T. Northern Ireland Trophy. In 1992 and 2008, County Londonderry won the Causeway Health & Social Services Trust Trophy. Last year, they won the Bowl Competition. At the Junior Level, County Londonderry won the B.T. Northern Ireland Trophy in 2000.
All County teams will have home field advantage in this year’s tournament. County Londonderry will be a top team difficult to beat.
Dundalk Tuesday 24th
Dundalk Football Club: (Irish, Cumann Peile Dhún Dealgan) is a professional football club based in Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland. The club plays in the Premier Division of the League of Ireland. Founded in 1903, they are the second most successful team, in terms of trophies won, in the history of the League of Ireland. The traditional colors of the club are white jerseys with black shorts. Due to their white jerseys, they have been nicknamed the “Lilywhites”. They play their home games in Oriel Park.
Dundalk means "Dalgan's stronghold’. It is situated where the Castletown River flows into Dundalk Bay. It is close to the border with Northern Ireland. It is equidistant from Belfast and Dublin. The town's name has associations with the mythical warrior Cú Chulainn, and the town's crest reads Mé do rug Cú Chulainn Cróga, meaning "I gave birth to brave Cú Chulainn". It was granted its charter in 1189.
Dundalk FC’s Premier team won the Northern Bank Trophy in 1984, and the Causeway Health & Social Services Trust Trophy in 1989 and 1998. Their Juniors won the Causeway Health & Social Services Trust Trophy in 2003, and the Most Successful Irish Team award in 2010.