David Moyes paraded new signing Steven Naismith at Goodison Park yesterday, then the Everton boss confirmed he would be opening this month’s Milk Cup tournament in Coleraine.
Scottish international Naismith, who twice played on the north coast at the international event with Kilmarnock, has happy memories of his visits here.
He admits that on more than one occasion he has reminded former Rangers team mate Kyle Lafferty how he scored twice against him in a 3-2 win over County Fermanagh – a game in 2003 that saw the Northern Ireland star manage to hit the target too!
Moyes will feel right at home when he opens the 30th anniversary tournament in Coleraine on Sunday, July 22. His late mother Joan was a native of Portrush. He often visits relatives in the area and the family dedicated a seat overlooking the harbour in her memory.
Everton have enjoyed considerable success at the competition over the years – five titles in seven final appearances at Junior level.
Moyes was instrumental in the success of the Milk Cup’s 25th anniversary celebrations when he brought Everton to Coleraine Showgrounds to play a Northern Ireland Select
Another tournament “old boy,” Wayne Rooney, accompanied him to the tournament draw in 2003 after the future England star had previously played for Everton in the competition.
Some well known names have come through the competition with the Toffees including Leon Osman, Tony Hibbert, James, Vaughan, Joey Barton, Victor Anichebe and Phil Jagielka.
David’s father, David, has been a regular visitor down the years. He scouts for Everton and is highly regarded in football circles in England, his native Scotland and much further afield.
To mark the 30th year, matches will commence on Saturday, July 21, across all six county venues, mirroring the 25th anniversary.
Liverpool’s Junior will face Co. Antrim at Greenisland, Ipswich Town are at Mountjoy in Omagh to play Co. Tyrone, while Shamrock Park hosts Co. Armagh and CSKA Moscow.
In the Premier event on the Saturday former winners Etoile Lusitana from Senegal tackle Co. Down at Comber Rec, Manchester United are at Darragh Park, Castlederg, to play Co. Tyrone, Spurs are at Shamrock Park against Co. Armagh and Co. Fermanagh host Newcastle United at Ferney Park, home of newly promoted Premiership club Ballinamallard.
All match details are on the competition website at www.nimilkcup.org