Dale Farm Milk Cup is World Class, says David Healy

Jun 24, 2015 | Press Releases

Former Milk Cup winner David Healy says the international youth tournament is resilient enough to move on from Manchester United’s decision not to compete this summer for the first time in 26 years.


Northern Ireland’s record goalscorer made the draw for next month’s event yesterday in Belfast where tournament chairman Victor Leonard revealed discussions are on going with United about a possible return.


Healy, who started his cross channel career at Old Trafford, playing for them in the Junior Milk Cup, said: “The public are disappointed about United’s decision and so are the organisers but the tournament is big enough now to continue. It has gone global and is full of exciting sides from all parts of the world.


“It still gives youngsters a world class stage to play on. I was only a 13-year-old boy from Killyleagh who had only been over to Old Trafford once or twice when I was asked to play for United and it was a dream come true for me to compete in front of my family and local people.


“We got all the way to the Junior final but lost to Middlesbrough. It was an amzing week for me and what I learned back then in terms of experience stood me in good stead.”


Healy, who went on to play in the event three times, winning the Elite title with Northern ireland in 1997, also took time to praise another Milk Cup graduate, striker Kyle Lafferty, who has been in sensational form for Northern Ireland in their push to qualify for a first ever appearance at a European Championship finals.


“He has done brilliantly and I am delighted for him. In the previous campaign he took a bit of flak from people for his lack of form but he has become our main man. Opposition managers all now identify him as that.


“I have to take my hat off to manager Michael O’Neill who has worked with him and it is paying dividends.”


Healy, now coaching for the Irish FA, has aspirations to become a manager: “It’s a complete change learning how to be a coach and a manager. I am learning all the requirements with the IFA courses.”


Meanwhile, yesterday’s draw threw together 2014 beaten finalists County Antrim and County Londonderry in the opening series of Junior games.


Antrim, beaten 2-0 by Brazilian club Corinthians in last year’s final after losing the previous year’s decider to Everton after a penalty shootout, will also take on Mexicans Zacatepac and the North Dublin League in their group.


In the Premier competition, County Down will be up against last year’s beaten finalists, French side Vendee who lost out to Manchester United.


The 33rd Dale Farm Milk Cup tournament begins with the traditional parade of competing teams through Coleraine on Sunday, July 26, concluding with finals night at Ballymena Showgrounds on Friday, July 31.


In addition to the title sponsors, the Dale Farm Milk Cup is supported by the Causeway Coast and Glens Council, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Tourism Northern Ireland, DCAL, Mitre, Dawson Whyte Insurance and The Beautiful Game, with BBC Sport NI as broadcast partners.


The Milk Cup groupings are:


AS Roma USA: v Rangers, Sydney United, Co Fermanagh

Brentford: Plymouth Argyle, Strikers, Co Down

Co Antrim: Co Londonderry, North Dublin, SL Zacatepac

Co Armagh: Co Tyrone, Right to Dream, Swindon Town

Co Down: Donegal SL, Strikers, Brentford

Co Fermanagh: Dundalk SL, AS Roma USA, Rangers

Co Londonderry: Co Antrim, OC Blues, Southampton

Co. Tyrone: Co Armagh, GPS FC Bayern, Liverpool

Donegal Schools: Co Down, Santa Marta de Liray, Plymouth Argyle

Dundalk SL: Co Fermanagh, Sydney United, Sheffield United

GPS FC Bayern: Liverpool, Right to Dream, Co Tyrone

Liverpool: Swindon Town, GPS FC Bayern, Co Tyrone

North Dublin SL: OC Blues, Zacatepac, Co Antrim

OC Blues: Southampton, North Dublin SL, Co Londonderry

Plymouth Argyle: Brentford, Santa Marta de Liray, Donegal SL

Rangers: Sheffield United, AS Romas USA, Co Fermanagh

Right to Dream: GPS FC Bayern, Swindon Town, Co Armagh

Santa Marta de Liray: Strikers, Plymouth Argyle, Donegal SL

Sheffield United: Rangers, Sydney United, Dundalk SL

Southampton: Zacatepac, OC Blues, Co Londonderry

Strikers: Brentford, Santa Marta de Liray, Co Down

Swindon Town: Liverpool, Right to Dream, Co Armagh

Sydney United: AS Roma USA, Sheffield United,Dundalk SL

Zacatepac: Southampton, North Dublin SL, Co Antrim


Alset Colombia: Real Sociedad, Otago Academy, Co Armagh

Cherry Orchard: Co Down, OC Blues, O’Higgins FC

Club América: Vendee, OC Blues, Cherry Orchard

Co Antrim: Co Tyrone, Strikers, Higashi Fukuoka

Co Armagh: Real Sociedad, Alset Colombia, Otago Academy

Co Down: Cherry Orchard, Club America, Vendee

Co Fermanagh: Co Londonderry, Partick Thistle, Malaga CF

Co Londonderry: Co Fermanagh, Lusaka Academy, CSKA Moscow

Co Tyrone: Co Antrim, Right to Dream, Newcastle United

CSKA Moscow: Malaga CF, Lusaka Academy, Co Londonderry

Higashi Fukuoka: Newcastle United, Strikers, Co Antrim

Lusaka Academy: CSKA Moscow, Partick Thistle, Co Londonderry

Malaga CF: CSKA Moscow, Partick Thistle, Co Fermanagh

Newcastle United: Higashi Fukuoka, Right to Dream, Co Tyrone

O’Higgins FC: Vendee, OC Blues, Cherry Orchard

OC Blues: Club America, O’Higgins FC, Cherry Orchard

Otago Academy: Real Sociedad, Alset Colombia, Co. Armagh

Partick Thistle: Lusaka Academy, Malaga CF, Co Fermanagh

Real Sociedad: Alset Colombia, Otago Academy, Co Armagh

Right to Dream: Newcastle United, Strikers, Co Tyrone

Strikers: Right to Dream, Higashi Fukuoka, Co Antrim

Vendee: O’Higgins FC, Club America, Co Down



Note for editors:

Dale Farm is part of the United Dairy Farmers Group, a UK dairy farmer co-operative owned by over 1,600 dairy farmers who supply it with fresh milk. Dale Farm has operations throughout the UK and Ireland producing and distributing a wide range of dairy products which it sells across the UK and Ireland as well as exporting to over 45 countries worldwide