There was a lull in proceedings following the SuperCupNI 2017 Junior draw as the gathered audience quickly scanned the screen to see which Northern Irish team had landed the plum draw of the returning Manchester United.
And after a moment of quick reflection, the County Fermanagh party expressed their delight at having secured a clash with the Old Trafford youngsters on day two of the tournament.
The Lakeland County haven’t played the Manchester outfit in around 20 years of coming to the competition and Junior manager Denzil McDaniel expressed his delight at the draw.
“The draw has given everyone a real boost and everyone is really excited. It was the one glamour tie that everyone was looking for and they don’t come any better than playing Manchester United.”
McDaniel said that his side are working incredibly hard and admitted that the news that they had been paired with Manchester United would give them added ‘incentive and focus’.
“It will be a wonderful experience for the boys and they are really buzzing and there is a real buzz around the county after the news.
“However, we won’t get carried away and we know that we have two tough games against Club NI and the Dundalk Schoolboys League and it isn’t just about Manchester United.”
Indeed, McDaniel’s side open the tournament against Club NI and they will be facing a talented Club NI team, who competed against some of Europe’s best at the Lennart Johansson Trophy in Stockholm where they defeated the likes of Club Brugge, Everton and lost narrowly to Inter Milan.
Dundalk are a side that McDaniel and his backroom staff will be all too familiar with, as they clashed on day three of the 2016 tournament in Roe Mill, where Fermanagh ran out 3-1 winners.
In the Premier section, County Fermanagh’s Premier side were handed a second crack at Ghanian side Right to Dream.
Darren Higginbotham’s 2016 side pushed the African side all the way in a pulsating clash in Broughshane last summer, but missed opportunities at crucial times came back to haunt the plucky Lakeland outfit as they lost 2-1.
This year the Fermanagh Premier side will open the tournament against GPS Bayern from America, before facing Right to Dream on the Tuesday and ending their qualifying campaign with an all-county clash with Down.
“Right to Dream is the highlight game for us and a lot of the squad from last year will be involved again this year, so we do have a bit of unfinished business with them from last year,” said Higginbotham.
“The GPS Bayern game is our opener and they will be a team that we won’t know too much about but we are confident going into it and we are going to go and get some positive results from it.”
Fermanagh conclude their Premier qualifying campaign against County Down and Higginbotham said that they will know what to expect.
“Two counties playing against each other at the tournament is always the same sort of game, blood and thunder with 100% effort.
“We have two games before that and we will concentrate on those games and we will worry about the Down game after Tuesday, but in general we are very happy with the draw.”
*Credit, Same Gamble – @Sam_Gamble88
County Fermanagh fixtures
Monday, July 24 – Fermanagh v Club NI.
Tuesday, July 25 – Fermanagh v Manchester United.
Wednesday, July 26 – Fermanagh v Dundalk Schoolboys.
Monday, July 24 – Fermanagh v GPS Bayern (USA).
Tuesday, July 25 – Fermanagh v Right to Dream (Ghana).
Wednesday, July 26 – Fermanagh v Down.