EUROPEAN football will take centre-stage at Shamrock Park next month with Portadown playing host to Tottenham Hotspur and CSKA Moscow.
The Ports – alongside Craigavon and Armagh and City District council officials – have secured the Brownstown Road ground as a venue for Milk Cup group games on Saturday, July 21.
County Armagh under 14s will face CSKA Moscow, with the area’s Premier side then set to take on Tottenham Hotspur.
This summer marks the 30th anniversary of the Milk Cup tournament, with organisers opting to allow county sides to kick off the youth competition at home venues as part of the celebrations.
Ronnie Stinson, Portadown’s director of football, considers the appearance of the Orchard County’s two leading teenage squads as another link between the town club and youth development.
“Over the past year we have really worked hard at pushing on our development strategy by implementing the Academy coaching programme, establishing connections with Falkirk and strengthening existing links with the Portadown Youth club,” said Stinson. “In keeping with that commitment to aiding youth development in the area, we are delighted to welcome the two County Armagh squads.
“Tottenham Hotspur and CSKA Moscow should attract plenty of football fans given the rich history both clubs enjoy.
“However, it is also a great opportunity for supporters to get a look at some of the most promising players in the borough.
“Our extensive ground redevelopments were implemented to help Shamrock Park become a greater focal point for the community and certainly we are delighted to have a connection to this year’s anniversary Milk Cup.”
Both visiting squads will stay in The Armagh City Hotel on Friday, July 20 before heading over to Shamrock Park for the opening group fixtures.
“What a draw,” said the Mayor of Craigavon, Councillor Alan Carson. “It’s really good news for the borough that we have these teams playing here.
“I hope that as many people as possible will support these young players and give them the credit they deserve on July 21.”
The Milk Cup link also presents the perfect platform from which to promote the area.
“This is another opportunity to showcase Portadown’s first-class facilities at Shamrock Park,” said Craigavon Borough Council’s chair of leisure services, Alderman Meta Crozier. “It’s a great opportunity that Armagh’s junior and premier sides can play their first matches in front of large home crowds.”
The Armagh teenagers will also face County Tyrone and Desportivo Brazil in the Premier group stages. In the Junior group, the boys meet Watford and County Tyrone.
SHAMROCK Park will showcase blossoming talent of a different kind today (Friday) between 4-9 o’clock with the Wholesale Flower Sale and Car Boot Sale.
Flowers have been donated by A.Haamskark Flower Export, Greenisland Flowers, Glenbank Nurseries and Orchard Flowers to go on sale at wholesale prices.
The fee to book a spot in the general sale is only £3 per car, with all proceeds to boost club funds.
PORTADOWN Youth’s Nigel Armstrong has helped to organise a summer mini-soccer coaching course at Annagh United.
Boys and girls aged 4-10 years old can meet at Annagh’s Tandragee Road venue each Tuesday for qualified coaching from 6.30-7.30 at the cost of just £2. Contact (028) 38 391144.