MILK CUP: USA and Northern Ireland renew rivalries

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Old rivals will be back to battle it out for the Elite spoils at this summer’s Milk Cup international youth tournament.

Last year a highly impressive USA side denied Steve Beaglehole’s Northern Ireland a fourth title which would have made them the most successful nation ever in the 16 years of the Under-21 section.

But the States coasted to a first title since 2005 with an emphatic 3-0 win at Ballymena Showgrounds.

However, both nations will be represented again when the competition kicks off on Monday, July 25.

Dr. Mike Johnston, Chief Executive of the Dairy Council for Northern Ireland who sponsor the tournament, says: “There is now a keen rivalry between the two countries and it is exciting to know that both are involved again.

“The Elite event is shaping up to be another entertaining competition.”

With long standing visitors Manchester United again contesting the Premier tournament, along with Tottenham Hotspur and Bolton Wanderers, the Milk Cup standard will be extremely high.

Defending champions Etoile Senegal are also returning while in the Junior section Everton, Ipswich Town, Swindon Town, Plymouth Argyle and Watford are all confirmed.

The Milk Cup is part of a campaign that is jointly funded by the European Commission.

The draw for the tournament will be made in Belfast’s Odyssey Complex on Thursday, May 26, and you can follow it live on Twitter @milkcup2011 and on the official website at www.nimilkcup.org.

The competition, staged at 14 venues in the Coleraine, Limavady, Ballymoney and Ballymena areas, kicks off on Monday, July 25, following a welcome parade of teams through Coleraine on Sunday, July 24.