Future stars ready for the big kick off

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Hundreds of the world’s most gifted teenage footballers will converge on Coleraine town centre this Sunday evening.

The 32nd Dale Farm Milk Cup youth tournament rolls out the welcome mat for teams from across the globe.

Tournament chairman Victor Leonard says the parade featuring 57 teams is a highlight for the boys as well as the public.

“This truly is a great opportunity to see football’s future stars shine and I know local people of all ages have a wonderfully warm affection for the event which let’s them express their pride in hosting so many overseas visitors at one time.

“Consistently over the years when you meet players who have been to the tournament, they speak so fondly of the parade and walking through the streets of the town to the cheers of thousands of people lining the route to the Showgrounds.

“It is such a vibrant occasion with everyone feeling a buzz and it’s really sets the tone for the week ahead.”

Former Westlife singer Nicky Byrne will be the star guest and his appearance has sparked huge interest, according to Victor.

“He has a terrific football background in addition to his worldwide success as a singer. His popularity is amazing.”

The Dublin star played at the tournament on three occasions, twice with Dublin club Home Farm and also with Leeds United.

The parade commences from the Diamond at 7pm and makes its way to the Showgrounds for the ceremony at the home of Coleraine FC.