Antrim aiming to make history

Jul 5, 2019 | Press Releases

They’ve been Northern Ireland’s leading light at the competition for over 6 years and their Junior side could make history this summer by becoming the first ever team to win three consecutive titles.


Antrim Head Coach Stefan Seaton said the prospect of creating history this summer is an exciting prospect for Antrim’s U15 panel.


“Over the last six years or so we’ve either won the Junior section, finished runners-up or been defeated by the eventual winners.


“That is a phenomenal achievement and the players who have represented our County over the last number of years have put us in that position.


“We have become a scalp for teams in recent years and I love the pressure that comes with that and we can’t wait for the 2019 tournament to come around.”


Last summer they toppled Premier League giants Manchester United in the Junior decider and in 2017 they claimed their first ever Junior crown with a win over GPS.


“We never set ourselves any targets or objectives other than making sure the players give their best and do the supporters, who follow us throughout the week, proud,” added Seaton.


“This year we’ve an interesting draw and it is similar to the first three games we had in 2018.


“To be honest we never look too much into the opposition and we are focused on ensuring we are in the best shape possible and that we do our best.”


Antrim open their campaign in Broughshane against Dundalk Schoolboys League, before an Ulster derby with Fermanagh in Ballymoney. Their third and final clash in the Junior section is against Mexican debutants UNAM Pumas at Anderson Park.


Seaton admitted that the challenge of having to adapt and learn throughout the week is an exciting prospect for his coaches and his players.


“My coaching staff have about 30 years of experience between coaching and playing at the competition and all of us are aware that you can always come across an unknown quantity when you are up there.


“I’ve been working with Liverpool as a scout for over 10 years now and it is amazing the level of detail you see in the English Premier League. They have information on everything you can think of on opposing players and I suppose one of the exciting things about the STATSports Super Cup NI is that you don’t know what you are going to come against until you play your first three games.”


Antrim named their final 18 strong panels for the competition at the start of June and Seaton said it is of the utmost of importance that all of his players are fit and healthy prior to the big kick off on Monday, July 29th.


“We work closely with Jim and Victor to ensure we meet their deadlines for the confirmation of our squads. I have a lot of time for Jim and Victor and the work they have done in making this competition one of the best youth competitions in the world is incredible.


“Traditionally we leave our selection process fairly late. We are always looking to ensuring that all of our players peak at the competition and ensure that we manage their workload.


“It can be a long season for some players and to be honest at times we have just given players a rest and recovery schedule and kept them away from the training pitch


“This year I have been really pleased with how the group has bonded. It is a really strong and united bunch of players and with just a few weeks to go now we are fine-tuning and ensuring that everyone is focused on playing the Antrim way by working hard work each other and outworking the opposition.”


With just a few weeks until kick off Seaton admitted it can be a challenging period for his coaching staff.


“You are absolutely terrified of injuries at this stage and we do a lot of work on injury prevention and ensuring that the boys are physically ready for five games in five days.


“The first few weeks of training for the final 18 can be difficult and it can be intensive. We are now in a situation where it is just a case of focusing on ourselves and working on a few tactical bits and pieces as well as some set pieces.


“We are in a really good place and the boys know that if they work hard and give their best then hopefully by the end of the week, they will have their hands on a trophy.”


Antrim Junior fixtures –

Monday, July 29th – 12pm – Antrim v Dundalk SL – Broughshane.

Tuesday, July 30th – 1.30pm – Antrim v Fermanagh – Riada Stadium, Ballymoney.

Wednesday, July 31st – 11.30am – Antrim v Pumas UNAM – Anderson Park, Coleraine.


Antrim Premier fixtures –

Monday, July 29th – 3pm – Antrim v Deportes Iquique – Riada Stadium, Ballymoney.

Tuesday, July 30th -7pm – Antrim v NC Elite – Showgrounds, Ballymena.

Wednesday, July 31st – 2pm – Antrim v Chippenham Town – Showgrounds, Coleraine