MILK CUP: County players are impressing overseas visitors

Mark Herdman   of Co Down  and Robbie Leitch    of Motherwell
Mark Herdman of Co Down and Robbie Leitch of Motherwell

Chilean club O’Higgins are considering signing young Northern Irish footballers after a positive experience at the Dale Farm Milk Cup.

Vice-President Cristian Abumahor is keen to give a Milk Cup county player the experience of a lifetime by taking them to South America.

Abumahor is keen to strengthen his clubs link to Ireland.

“The club was founded in 1955, the name coming from Bernardo O’Higgins, the founding father of Chile.

“Bernardo had connections with Rancagua, the region the club is from, so the club was named in his honour.

“Bernardo’s father was from Ireland so the link to the club has always been there.

“My family bought the club in 2008 and at that stage we had never won the FIrst Division title. But in 2013 we won our first title.

“From the moment we bought the club, we wanted to develop young players and we have a scouting programme in place in Chile, and all over South America.

“Getting players international experience was very important to us and that is where the Milk Cup has been so valuable.

“We have been talking about what we can do with young Irish players.

“We’ve discussed it with the Milk Cup organisers and will continue to look into the possibility of bringing a young player to Chile for a year.

“At the moment we are not too sure how we can do it, but it is something we would like to do in the future.”

The Chileans are certainly enjoying their trip to the Dale Farm Milk Cup.

O’Higgins defeated Orange County Blues 3-1 at Roe Mill, to give them their second win of the campaign.

If they can beat Motherwell at The Warren on Wednesday they should reach the semi-finals.

Elsewhere, local side County Antrim maintain their 100% Milk Cup record with a 2-0 win over Tyrone in Brougshane.

A win over Japanese Higashi should seal their progress.

Yesterday, Higashi lost 4-0 to Strikers in Castlerock.

Damian McNamee’s Londonderry recorded their second win of the Milk Cup with a 3-2 win over Fermanagh in Portstrwart.

Pat McGibbon’s County Armagh bounced back from an opening day by beating Columbian side Alset 2-1 in Portrush.

Down weren’t so fortunate. John Bailie’s lads lost 2-0 to Motherwell at Rugby Avenue.

Ghana side Right To Dream continued to build a formidable reputation by easing past Newcastle United at the Ballymena Showgrounds.

After a tight first half finish with a goal each, the Africans turned on the style in the second half.

A Newcastle own goal followed by a wonderful finish from defender Ibrahim Sadiq making it 3-1 to the Magpies.

Perhaps the highlight of the match was a remarkable second half save from RTD goalkeeper Clinton Bannerman with scores poised at 2-1.

Lusaka Academy’s week went from bad to worse on Tuesday.

After their hellish experience on Sunday that saw them spend a night on the floor of Copenhagen airport, the Zambian side lost their second match of the tournament. CSKA Moscow beat the African side 1-0 at Clough, which means the Russian side have two wins from two difficult games.

Spanish side Malaga shook recovered from an opening day defeat to CSKA Moscow by hammering Partick Thistle 5-0.

Fellow Spanish side Real Sociedad drew 0-0 with New Zealand side Otago in Limavady.

Last year’s beaten finalists Vendee have struggled this year.

The French club lost again, going down 4-1 to Mexican side Club America in Portstewart.