Milk Cup week traditionally puts extra focus on grassroots football in Northern Ireland and Portadown manager Ronnie McFall considers the youth tournament an important foundation towards a future in the game.
Irish League progress with Portadown across the past year of former County Armagh players such as Shea Conaty, Jordan Lyttle, Jake Richardson, Marcio Soares and Christian Stewart supports McFall’s belief in the key role the Milk Cup can play in youth development. Jake Richardson, another Shamrock Park youth product, has a string of assists and lauded performances to his name this summer.
A tally of nine Portadown Youth players selected to represent the Orchard County this week marks a club majority across the 36-strong panel - confirming McFall’s faith in a bright future.
“One of the most impressive parts of pre-season has been the young players’ progress,” said McFall. “With financial restrictions in place then the door is more open than ever for youth to get an opportunity.
“The Milk Cup is a wonderful experience and great help in a player’s development to come up against so many different cultures and styles.
“The responsibility of representing your county at a global tournament like the Milk Cup is also a great lesson and can only help when it comes to stepping up to senior football.”
Portadown’s final friendly will take place tomorrow (Saturday) with a derby date away to Annagh United.
Supporters are reminded that access to the Tandragee Road ground via Thomas Street is closed this weekend.
The game will kick-off at 3 o’clock.