Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is warming up to host the annual SuperCupNI Tournament, formerly known as the Milk Cup, later this week.
A record 54 competing teams will be welcomed to the Borough with an official welcoming parade and ceremony led by famous local legend and football fanatic, Jimmy Nesbitt, on Sunday 24 July from 7pm, before teams battle it out in a week-long tournament to be crowned SuperCup champions.
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council Mayor, Councillor Audrey Wales MBE, said, “We are delighted to be involved as a sponsor and to showcase our leading sporting facilities during host matches at Ballymena Showgrounds, Broughshane and Clough.”
“The SuperCupNI continues to be one of the biggest events in the sporting calendar and we are honoured not only to be hosting a number of matches but once again have the privilege of hosting the Tournament Finals night at Ballymena Showgrounds.”
“I am particularly delighted to see local talent and future superstars of the game staying within the Borough and I look forward to meeting all the teams involved in this year’s Tournament.”
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s Operational Committee Chairman, Ald John Carson said, “Year on year, the SuperCupNI continues to grow in popularity .
“We are excited to host this prolific event once again which continues to benefits our local communities and attract tourism into the Borough.
“As hosts of the most prestigious international youth tournament in the world, the event really puts Mid and East Antrim in the spotlight as a premier sporting venue, showcasing some of the superb sports facilities we have on offer within the Borough.”
Victor Leonard, Tournament chairman said, “Football in Northern Ireland has been on a real high this summer after the national side’s remarkable achievement of reaching the knockout stages of Euro 2016 in France. I am proud that no fewer than 21 of the 23 man squad representing Northern Ireland were graduates of our competition, including Northern Ireland manager, Michael O’Neill.”
The organisers of the SuperCupNI are hoping to build on this excitement with a spectacular SuperCupNI Tournament this year packed full of performances from stars of the future.
“We are personally excited that the inaugural under 21 section will be held at the Ballymena Showgrounds and will host iconic football clubs such as Espanyol, Celtic, Everton and Real Sociedad on Thursday 21st and Saturday 23rd July as they battle it out for coveted place in the final,” added Victor.
Northern Ireland football legend, Gerry Armstrong, maintains the standard of the SuperCupNI has lifted the performance of local teams too,
“The benefits are enormous,” says the former striker. “Playing against quality teams from around the world has inspired home grown talent and we have seen County teams reach the final and lift the Silverware.”