Locals called on to rally behind Milk Cup

Robin Swann, the North Antrim Ulster Unionist Party Assembly member and Party Spokesman on Culture, Arts and Leisure, has called on the community to “rally round and support the prestigious football Milk Cup competition because of the number of high-profile games which will be played in the constituency”.

Assemblyman Swann, who is also North Antrim UUP Chairman and Party Chief Whip, issued his appeal after the draw was made recently for the 30th annual Milk Cup tournament.

Earlier in this Assembly session, Mr Swann had been an active campaigner to get the Executive to restore funding for the prestigious Milk Cup soccer tournament, many of whose matches are played in the North Antrim constituency.

He said this had been “a decision for common sense”. He added that the tournament provided superb opportunities for the community to see some of the emerging young soccer stars of the future.

Assemblyman Swann said: “The Milk Cup Draw will certainly serve to whet the appetite of football fans throughout Northern Ireland, and especially any spectators who attend the North Antrim based games.  

“This is the 30th Anniversary of the Milk Cup, which has grown into one of the finest youth football tournaments in the world.

“In addition to what promises to be the fantastic sporting aspect, the Milk Cup is yet another occasion for Northern Ireland – and North Antrim in particular - to sell itself in terms of tourism, with so many visitors coming literally from all four corners of the world.

“Teams from Israel, Russia, Mexico, Portugal, New Zealand and the national sides of Chile, Denmark, USA, Turkey and Mexico to name but a few, will be coming to the Province to play in the tournament, which kicks off on 21 July and continue until Thursday 26 July. 

“As usual, there is a tremendous array of footballing talent lined up. In the elite section the highlights will be Northern Ireland’s fixtures against Chile and Mexico.

“In the Premier Section there will be a great deal of interest in the games involving Manchester United, Spurs, Newcastle and the six Northern Ireland County sides, while the Junior Section also includes the six Northern Ireland County sides plus Merseyside rivals Liverpool and Everton.

“The entire tournament promises to be a wonderful occasion as always, so I appeal to the community to join in the fun and action by supporting especially those matches which are played in North Antrim,” said Assemblyman Swann.