Premier squad left frustrated by resilient Partick Thistle.

Down started the better of the two sides penning Partick Thistle in their own half. They were almost rewarded for a promising start after Byers went close with a header from a rushe corner. John Bailie’s men were then harshly denied the lead when a Rushe free kick from the right hand side evaded everyone winding up in the Partick thistle net to give Down what they thought was a deserved lead only for the referee to mysteriously blow his whistle for offside.

After the opening period of pressure Partick thistle almost took an undeserved lead but Morrow in the Down goal was equal to the long range drive and the half ended with both sides level. The second half begun how the first half ended with Down on top. Rushe and Johnston had chances but were unlucky not to give Down the lead their play merited.

Rushe then drifted past a couple of men as he cut in from the left hand side but his right footed shot was well saved from the Partick Thistle goalkeeper and the scores remained level. Turkington was next up to test the Partick Thistle goalkepper but his stinging 25 yard half volley was tipped wide for a Down corner. Captain Byers went close again in the dying seconds with a header but it was not to be Down’s night as both sides had to settle for a point. The Premier squad now take the Craig Bellamy Foundation at Scorggy Road, Limavady. Kick off is at 7.

Teams: Morrow, Foster, Stewart, Byers, Neale, Dempster, Khalid, Johnston, Rushe, Salley, Dupree. Subs: Kane, McGovern, Lennox, Turkington, Newell, Noble-Walker, Drylie.

Sharvin scores Dramatic winner as Junior beat Dundalk in Last Minute!

Kyle spiers County Down junior squad went behind for the second day in succession after Dundalk forward Connolly headed in a thumping header following neat play down their left to give Dundalk an early lead. Dundalk almost added to their tally going close a couple more times but Cannavan in the goal succeeded in keeping the score at 1-0 as both sides went in for half time.
The second half begun with Down searching for the equaliser and they got
their reward 2 minutes in, after good play down the right hand side saw
the ball fall to Leo Brown’s feet and he made no mistake, driving home
from the edge of the box. Leo brown went close a couple of times before
County Down got their just reward for an impressive second half
performance as sharvin smashed it In Following excellent play from
substitute McArthur down the right hand side left sharvin with the task
slotting it in to make it 2-1 in the dying seconds. The game restarted
and the ref blew the final whistle to the delight of County Down.
Attention now turns to Brentford as Down bid to make it to the final


Team: Cannavan, Kelly, Dillon, McCloy, White, Sharvin, Bates, Mitchell,
Graham, Brown, Tobin
Subs: Davidson , chambers, McArthur, Garland, McClements, Nelson,

Premier v County Antrim

John Bailie’s County Down premier squad had a frustrating start to their 2014 Dale Farm Milk Cup campaign as they went down 3-2 to local rivals County Antrim in a hard fought encounter. Antrim started the brighter of the two sides and took the lead after Mark Sykes smashed in a free kick from 40 yards into the roof of Reece Kane’s net. Reece Neale almost equalised after Jody Mcgovern set the left back off on a run down the left hand side that ended up with Neale going close with a rasping drive. As the first half came to a close County Antrim were the better side but were yet to create any clear cut opportunites.

The second half got underway and after some stern words from John Balie, Michael Johnston latched onto a long pass from Stewart to race clear of the defender and lob the ball over the Keeper. However the joy on the Down bench was short lived after Mooney punched the ball into his path before driving at the heart at the Down defence. Instead of blowing up for the handball in the middle of the park the referee awarded Antrim a free kick right on the edge of the Down box. Mooney dusted himself down and duly dispatched the resulting free kick to give County Antrim a 2-1 lead. The goal was cruel on the Down lads who had been the better side in the second half. Then with 10 mins to go Down were punished as they pressed forward for an equaliser as Antrim broke quick and the pacy Smyth made it 3-1 to Antrim. The game looked over, but Down Skipper Byers, playing in his fourth consecutive Dale Farm Milk Cup, breathed fresh hope into the young Down lads as he headed home from a Jamal Dupree corner. Down then pressed forward as Rushe, who impressed when he came on engineered himself an opportunity in the dying seconds but the Antrim goalkeeper was equal to the effort and the game finished frustratingly for John Bailie’s side with Antrim winning 3-2. Attention now turns to Partick Thistle tomorrow at Rugby Avenue in Coleraine. Kick off is at 1700 and John Bailie will be looking for a reaction from his young squad.

Team: Kane, Byers, Stewart, Noble-Walker, Neale, Drylie, Mcgovern, Johnston, Lennox, Salley, Newell. Subs: Foster, Dupree, Turkington, Khalid, Morrow, Rushe, Dempster.

Junior V Queen of the South

Declan McClements scored a dramatic late equaliser for Kyle Spiers Junior squad as they kicked off their 2014 Milk Cup campaign with an impressive performance against Scottish league side Queen of the South. McClements prodded in from close range after a dangerous corner from Chambers to earn his side a 1-1 draw. Kyle Spiers side recovered well from going behind early on after the first corner of the game was thumped into the roof of the net from the Queen of the South central defender. Despite going down early doors County Down repsonded well and dominated the rest of the game. Captain Sharvin went close on a couple of occasions with stinging long range drives. Down then should have been awarded a penalty after McArthur was hacked down inside the box but the referee judged the foul to have been committed outside the box. The second half continued in the same vein with Down on top. Nelson went close on two occasions after neat interplay involving chambers set him free down the left hand side only for the keeper to be equal to his effort. Garland and Sharvin tested the keeper in the dying seconds as it looked like it would not be Down’s day. However despite their dominance it looked like it would not be Down’s day and thanks to McClements equlaiser in the dying seconds, Kyle Spiers Junior squad remain in contention to reach the latter part of the 2014 Dale Farm Milk Cup.

Team: Davidson, Kelly, Dillon, Marshall, White, McClements, Sharvin, Chambers, Nelson, Garland, McArthur. Subs: Cannavan, Bates, Mitchell, Tobin,Brown, McCloy, Graham.

Festival of Football is upon us!

After months and weeks of gruelling runs, intense training sessions and the odd hill run County Down Dale Farm Milk Cup Junior and Premier sides are ready to put their hard work to the test as the 2014 Dale Farm Milk Cup finally gets underway this afternoon.


Kyle Spiers Junior Squad are in action first as they entertain Scottish League side Queen of the South at Castlerock. Kick off is at 1330. Attention will then turn to John Bailie’s premier side as they take on local rivals County Antrim in a mouthwatering opening fixture at the Ballymena Showgrounds. Kick off is at 6.

Photos and reports from all this week’s matches will be available from the website.

Big Thanks!

The County Down Dale Farm Milk Cup Committee would like say a big thank you to Chris McGraw Sales Manager of Today’s Local and Peter Quinn Sales rep of Musgrave Cash and Carry for supplying half time and full time drinks and energy bars.

Stong end to Dublin Weekend as both Junior and Premier squads win!

County Down Dale Farm Milk cup Junior side responded well from Saturday afternoon’s defeat against St Kevins under 15′s with a 5-3 victory over a representative side from Eircom League side Shelbourne. However the young Down lads did not have it their own way as they went 1-0 Down inside the opening minutes thanks to a left footed piled-river from 30 yards into the top left hand corner of the net, giving Thompson in the Down goal no chance. The Down lads did not let their heads drop and were rewarded 10 minutes later after good work from Lennon set up Kelly who smashed it into the corner of the net to make it 1-1. Graham almost made it 2-1 after some neat work from White set the Down forward up and he was unlucky with his effort. Kelly who was in the middle of the action almost grabbed his brace but he headed over following neat interplay down the right hand side. Minutes later Down were rewarded for their best performance of the weekend as Graham netted with a low drive from the edge of the box. Despite being in the ascendency a defensive error resulted in the Down central defender hacking down the Shelbourne attacker inside the box. A penalty was duly awarded and the Dundalk forward dusted himself down and slotted the resulting spot kick past the keeper. Sharvin who had just come on, was immediately involved as he made a driving run before slipping team mate Cassidy through on goal but the keeper was out quick and did well to deny the powerful striker. Cassidy again went close minutes later but his long rasping drive was well saved by the Shelbourne goalkeeper. Down who had re-took control of the game went back in front through Garland, as he turned the Shelbourne defender and hit an instinctive shot from 25 yards out, which left the goalkeeper motionless as the ball landed in the top right hand corner. Kyle Spiers Junior Squad kicked on from then and made it 4-2 through Mitchell. Mitchell was again on hand to make it 5-2, blasting in from close range after some nice approach play. Garland physical presence was causing all sorts of problems for the Shelbourne side and was heavily involved in all that was good from Down going forward. It was almost six when the lively McArthur skipped by a couple of tackles and fizzed a ball across the box to Gorman who saw his effort well saved from the goalkeeper. Shelbourne got a consolation goal through another penalty as the match finished up 5-3. It was a morale boosting victory after yesterday’s defeat and saw the Down lads finish the weekend on a high. Kyle Spiers will have saw plenty of things to be positive about as he prepares his side for the Dale Farm Milk Cup proper in just under 5 weeks time.


John Bailie’s Premier outfit finished off an impressive weekend as they defeated a strong Dundalk under 19 side 2-1 in a close fought encounter. Despite the age difference there was little to separate the sides in the opening stages of the first half as both teams cancelled each other out. The first chance of the game came when Rice sent a ball over the Dundalk defence for the lively Johnston to chase, the Goalkeeper arrived first to the ball but picked it up outside his area.The Dundalk goalkeeper somehow escaped without a card but Left winger Lennox almost punished him for his error in judgement as he whipped the resulting Free-kick off the bar. The ball came down off the bar and looked to have gone in but the referee dismissed the Down claims and it remained 0-0. The next chance fell to Dundalk and after the ball ricocheted inside the Down box it fell to their striker on the penalty spot and he saw his shot tipped wide by Fleetham. Down took the lead with 10 minutes to go until half time after a looping cross from McAvoy on the right crashed against the bar and fell perfectly to Down striker Howard who made no mistake with a calm finish from 5 yards. The second half picked up where the first ended, with Down on top. They capitalised on this pressure and made it 2-0 through an excellent goal from the dangerous Johnston. The forward who was released following skilful play from Lennox as he drifted past 2 players before sliding the ball to Johnston. The Down forward still had plenty to do and evaded a couple of Dundalk defenders before drilling the ball into the right hand corner with his left footed shot. Dundalk pulled one back as a long range effort evaded Fleetham in the Down goal. As the game became stretched in the dying embers of the match it was John Bailie’s side who looked more likely to add to their lead. Lennox against came off the left hand side before passing to Foster whose long range drive struck the foot off the Dundalk post. As both sides made a raft of changes the game lost its early ebb and flow. Nonetheless John Bailie will certainly be happy with his side’s commanding performance against a side a couple of years older.


Premier Side Win as Juniors go Down against St Kevins!

Kyle Spiers’ County Down Junior side were comprehensively beaten by a strong St. Kevins boys under 16 side in the second game of the weekend in Dublin. Playing against an older outfit the Down lads were always going to be up against it, and so it proved. St Kevins took an early lead after two minutes. After winning the ball in midfield the left winger was played through on goal and he made no mistake as he slotted past Canavan in the Down goal. Down responded almost immediately after neat interplay between Kelly and Jack Sharvin saw the two-footed left winger Chambers blast the ball into the corner of the net only for it to be disallowed dubiously for offside. Minutes later St Kevins made it 2-0 after a ball in from the left was finished off with a neat finish from their centre forward. Despite the scoreline County Down refused to give up as Sharvin, who was impressing in central midfield won the ball of his opposition number before skipping past the centre half only to be cruelly hacked down. He dusted himself down and tested the keeper with the resulting free-kick. However any hope of a Down comeback was dispersed when St Kevins made it 3-0 after their striker slid the ball past the Down goalkeeper. St Kevins continued to press home their advantage as they looked to add to their total. Canavan in the Down goal was on hand to deny St Kevins on several occasions with some outstanding saves.


Despite the work of Cannavan it was 4-0 soon after as St Kevins centre forward who was a thorn in the Down defence all night, turned and shot from the edge of the box into the bottom corner. The Down lads looked like they were feeling the effects of two games in two days as St Kevins continued to work the Down back four of Kelly, Marshall, McCloy and Nelson. St Kevins made it 5 with a looping header as the centre forward netted his hat-trick. It was 6 soon after with another header following a neat bit of play down the left hand side. St Kevins then made it 7-0 as Down were punished for not clearing their lines as the left winger drove home from outside the box. That final goal seemed to jolt the young Down lads into action again as they pulled one back through scott McArthur. Sharvin got his just rewards for his hard-working performance as he broke through from midfield and slotted it past the onrushing keeper to make it 7-2. Minutes later after Sharvin was at it again as he burst into the box, before being bundled over by clumsy challenge. Sharvin took the resulting penalty and scored the rebound after the keeper saved his first attempt. Despite the late flurry of goals the Kyle Spiers County Down side will have learnt a harsh lesson as they struggled against a strong St Kevins under 15 side. However with still over a month until the Dale Farm Milk Cup kick off in earnest there is still plenty of time for County Down to learn from their mistakes. Kyle Spiers Junior squad will hope to do better as they take on a representative side from Eircom league side, Shelbourne at Gormaston College. Kick off is at 1030 am.


Co Down followed up their 3 nil victory on Friday night with another excellent performance as they outclassed St Kevins under 17′s 3-0 on saturday. St Kevins started the brighter of the two sides and almost opened the scoring when good movement from their centre forward saw him race clear of thew Down defence but his final effort lack conviction and was easily saved by Down goalkeeper Kane. The game was evenly balanced and both defences were on top. However this all changed on 30 minutes when Rushe got on the end of a lovely through ball from Dempster to slot it past the onrushing goalkeeper to give John Bailie’s premier side the lead. St Kevin’s responded almost immediately and had the best chance of the first half when poor defending allowed the St Kevins centre forward to evade the Down defence only for his shot to miss the target. Drylie then engineered himself a bit of space only for his shot to miss the target from the edge of the box. In a concentrated period of Down pressure Rice went close right on half time as his header was well saved by the St Kevin goalkeeper.


Down added their second goal on 46 minutes as Rushe who was threatening throughout skipped by his marker to slot past the keeper from 10 yards out. By this stage Down were in complete control and Newell went close to adding a Down third, shooting from an acute angle. Salley was then denied another goal but the St Kevin’s defender was on hand to clear the ball of the line. Neale made it 3-0 on 76 minutes firing in emphatically from 8 yards out following unselfish platy from Coffey. John Bailie’s premier squad put in another commanding performance and were well worth their victory. With one game left of the weekend against a representative side from Eircom league side Dundalk in Dundalk, John Bailie will have plenty to mull over as he attempts to name his final 18 in the next week.


Mixed fortunes for Down sides on opening fixtures of Dublin weekend!!

Kyle Spiers’ County Down Dale Farm Milk Cup Junior squad were defeated 3-2 by North Dublin Schoolboys in the first of their three matches in Dublin this weekend. Despite the result, Kyle Spiers will be able to take plenty of positives, as his side produced a spirited performance against a team a year older and with 4 internationals in it.


County Down began the game in confident fashion playing the ball out from the back at every opportunity. On 5 minutes the early pressure was almost rewarded after Nelson went close from a Free-kick won after Bates was brought down on the edge of the Dublin Box. McMaster who was lively in the opening exchanges went even closer minutes later only for his effort to be denied by the Dublin Schoolboys keeper. Then on 15 minutes, after a clever through ball with the outside of his right foot by McClements, Cassidy was put through but the keeper was out quick to deny the big striker. After the early flurry of chances for Kyle Spiers’ side the Dublin schoolboys came back into it and began to put the Down back four under pressure. Despite loosing the ascendency in the match Down were dealing well with everything the North Dublin Schoolboys had to throw at them. And as the second third came to a close, both teams were cancelling each other out and the game had draw written all over it.


But as the last third began the game sparked into life as an in-swinging corner was met by their centre half who looped a header past the Down keeper to make it 1-0 to the North Dublin schoolboys. County Down responded immediately as Garland who had been moved up front in the last third latched onto a loose pass from the North Dublin Schoolboys goalkeeper and as he bared down on goal delayed for a split second, allowing the opposition defender to catch up and the resulting collision winded up in the North Dublin Schoolboys net to make it 1-1. The North Dublin side looked the fresher of the two sides and it seemed only a matter of time before they regained the lead. This duly happened 5 minutes after the County Down equaliser. As another in-swinging corner from the left was met by the same central defender who this time powered it past the Down goalkeeper to make it 2-1. It was 3-1 shortly after, as the North Dublin Schoolboys striker slotted in from 12 yards after the Down lads failed to clear their lines. Despite loosing 3-1 Down refused to give up and got their just rewards for a plucky performance with a consolation goal from Ciaran Kelly in the last minutes of the game, as he rose to meet a Fearon cross. The game finished up 3-2 and it could have been a very different scoreline had Kyle Spiers’ men took advantage of their early pressure. Nonetheless with the Milk Cup still over a month away, performances and not results will be more important for Kyle Spiers Dale Farm Milk Cup Junior Squad. The next game from the weekend in Dublin will take place today against St Kevins’ under 15′s in what promises to be another stern test for the County Down lads. The game will kick of at 2pm and directions can be found from the St. Kevins Boys website.


John Bailie’s Dale Farm premier Down Milk Cup squad faired slightly better than their Junior counterparts in the first game of the weekend as beat North Dublin Schoolboys 3-0 after a blistering first half performance. Picking up where they left of last Sunday, the County Down premier side were in in impressive as they dismantled an experienced North Dublin schoolboys side with some slick attacking play. Adam Salley went close on 8 minutes as the powerful striker went through on goal only for his shot to go wide of the goal. Down got their reward for an impressive start on 12 minutes When Dempster was one the end of a fine passing move involving McGovern, Salley and Michael Johnston to fire home from the edge of the box. Coffey then went close from close range but the Portavogie man was not to be denied after he flicked home from a flicked home from a Reece Neale free kick on 23 minutes. County Down who were well in control by this stage continued to press and looked hungry for more goals. Minutes later they got their wish as Salley was again in the midst of the action as he slotted home from 14 yards after being unselfishly set up by striker partner Coffey. Despite going close several more times the first half came to a close with Down very much in control.


The second half saw a much tamer affair with the North Dublin Schoolboys enjoying more possession. However for all their efforts they only created one worthwhile effort on 70 minutes but Fletham in the Down goal made a splendid save. John Bailie will have plenty to smile about the first half performance and another victory will certainly breed confidence as they head into their next game against St Kevins under 18′s later on today. The premier game will kick off at 2pm with the match taking place at Gormaston college.



Venue change for Junior Squad in Dublin!

The Dale Farm Milk Cup Junior County side will now take on St.Kevins under 15′s at St Kevins which can be found on Larkhill Road, Whitehall, Dublin 9. Directions to the pitches can be found on the St. Kevins webpage or through clicking on this page.

The Premier side will take on St. Kevins under 18′s at Gormaston College. Kick off for both matches is 2pm.