Pictured, Co Tyrone side at 2007 tournament
Former County Tyrone chairman Sean Curneen has reflected on the incredible talent that represented the ‘Red Hand County’ and added that it provided youngsters from Tyrone with a chance to shine in front of scouts and test themselves against some of the world’s best.
Here is Sean’s selection for his Best XI that represented Tyrone at the competition.
GK – Niall Morgan – Morgan was one of the standout goalkeepers to wear the Tyrone jersey. He went on to enjoy success with Dungannon Swifts in the Irish League, but it is in GAA where he has really excelled with Tyrone and he is widely received as one of the most goalkeepers in Ireland.
RB – Marty Flanagan – Marty Flanagan had an incredible tournament for Tyrone and he was snapped up by Derby County as a result of some brilliant performances. He was a great reader of the game and was a real asset to the team.
CB – Benny McElholm – Benny went across to Leyton Orient and played in their first team at a young age. He was an inspirational captain in the heart of defence.
CB – Sean Webb – Sean signed for Ross County straight after the tournament in 2000. He was a fantastic defender and within a year he was in the Ross County first team. He was another player that went on to play for Northern Ireland at senior level.
LB – JP Gallagher – JP had a fantastic career in the Irish League and it was no surprise that he played at the highest level locally for Dungannon Swifts and Linfield. There were always plenty of great players that came out of Strabane and JP was one of the very best.
RM – Niall McGinn – Niall was a shining light for Tyrone and it was an amazing moment to see him score for Northern Ireland in the European Championships in 2016. He’s played for some fantastic clubs including Celtic, Brentford and Aberdeen.
CM – Mark Hughes – Mark impressed everyone at the competition and he signed for Tottenham Hotspur and made a good career for himself in England. He also ended up with a few international caps under Lawrie Sanchez as well.
CM – Michael Corcoran – ‘Micky’ as he was more commonly know was a real driving force in midfield and he was highly sought after following the competition. He made the move over to Cardiff City and played for the likes of Oxford United after he left Cardiff.
LM – Stuart Dallas – What a journey Stuart has had since he represented Tyrone at the tournament and his moves through the Irish League pyramid. He thoroughly deserves his chance in the Premier League next season with Leeds United.
ST – Michael Ward – By the Wednesday afternoon of the competition, Michael had impressed so much that Leeds United had him signed up! He’s a barrister now in Belfast and he had a real eye for goal when he was wearing the Tyrone jersey.
ST – Ivan Sproule – Ivan was one of the quickest players I’ve seen play for Tyrone. He was another late bloomer and he made a great career for himself at the likes of Hibernian and Bristol City.
“I’ve some amazing memories from the tournament with my time involved with Tyrone. There were hundreds of exceptional footballers that played for us and I’d like to give honourable mentions to Ciaran Harper (ex-Southampton), Stefan Grimes (ex-West Ham United), Aidy McCaffrey, Dermot McCaffrey, Shane O’Neill and the two Richard Clarkes from Castlederg.”
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