County L'derry react to SuperCupNI 2017 Draw
Journalist Sam Gamble gets County L'derry's reaction to their draw for this year's SuperCupNI
It was a case of so close but so far for County Londonderry’s Junior side last summer at the SuperCupNI.
They made it all the way to the final of the U15 section, only to see their SuperCupNI journey halted at the final stage by an all-conquering Right to Dream, who retained their Junior crown.
The Derry Junior class of 2017 will be dreaming of going one step further and creating history, but they have a tough start to their campaign.
Chivas Guadalajara from Mexico are first up for Martin Smith’s side.
Day two will bring with it another intriguing challenge as they face First Choice Soccer from America, before finishing their qualifying section with a mouth-watering clash with neighbours Tyrone on Wednesday.
Smith, who has taken over the reigns from Ollie Mullan, said that his panel are excited about the challenge.
“We are really looking forward to it and once the boys knew who they were playing the excitement levels increased.
“The Mexican side are always a talented side at the tournament and they are usually there or thereabouts at the business end of the competition.
“We have First Choice Soccer on day two and then Tyrone on the Wednesday and the two sides will know plenty about each other.
“A number of our squad play with boys in the Tyrone panel and we have a lot of players who go to Lumen Christi with some of the Tyrone team so it should be interesting.”
Smith is joined in the dugout by Sean Roddy, Brian Devine and Alan Ryan and between the four coaches they have 7 tournaments on the North Coast between them.
“I’ve played in it three times and I know what it is like as a player.
“We have plenty of tournament experience in our backroom team and hopefully that can help the boys.
“We started training in earnest with our final 18 on Tuesday evening and we have a few friendlies lined up to make sure we are ready for kick off come Monday, July 23 against Chivas.”
The Londonderry Premier side, which is managed by Michael Cooke, will feature a large number of the Junior side from 2016 and they open the competition against Osasco from Brazil on Monday.
On day two they will face tournament regulars Otago from New Zealand and will conclude their qualifying campaign with an intriguing clash against County Armagh.
*Credit, Sam Gamble
County Londonderry fixtures
Monday, July 24 - Londonderry v Chivas Guadalajara (Mexico)
Tuesday, July 25 - Londonderry v First Choice Soccer (USA)
Wednesday, July 25 - Londonderry v Tyrone
Monday, July 24 - Londonderry v Osasco (Brazil)
Tuesday, July 25 - Londonderry v Otago (New Zealand)
Wednesday, July 25 - Londonderry v Armagh