MILK CUP: Hunter recalls early days of tournament

COLERAINE stalwart Victor Hunter has been re-living his memories of the Milk Cup.

Victor was in charge of the Coleraine team for the first eight years of the Milk Cup, and he has very happy memories of his involvement with the tournament.

“I really can’t believe that the Milk Cup is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary.

“It seems like no time since the Coleraine team played in the final in the very first year of the tournament,” admitted Victor.

Victor and the late George Logan took charge of the first Coleraine team to compete in the tournament back in 1982. Their line up included Damien McFadden, David Doherty, Anthony Gilmore, Kieran McGuiness, Nigel Bacon, Damien McNamee and Kirk Reynolds.

“To be honest we were very anxious about the whole thing,” admitted Victor.

“We really didn’t know what sort of teams we would be up against.

“We knew we had some of the best players in the area, but we were afraid that we would go out and get tanked. We looked the part, we had tracksuits sponsored by Kelly’s Coal and Coleraine sponsored us a minibus to get us to games, but we couldn’t afford to stay in a B&B like the other teams.

“I remember our first match against a Glasgow team.

“We were wetting ourselves to say the least, but the boys did very well and we went on to get through to the final that first year.

“Unfortunately we were beat by Motherwell but we were very proud of them.”

Victor recalled some of the famous names that played for Coleraine in the early days of the tournament: “My own son Barry, Steve Lomas and the current Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill all played, then we had the local boys like David Edgar who won the golden boot, Nigel Quigley, Anthony Gilmore... the lists goes on.

Victor added: “ I have some good memories of my involvement, so many local players had the experience of playing against teams like Motherwell, Rangers and Home Farm - the tournament has moved on a lot since then. And I wish the organisers well for the future.”

Dont’s miss today’s paper for more Milk Cup memories.