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James Nesbitt to kick-start youth soccer tournament SuperCup NI

By Allan Preston

Published 12/07/2016

Football-mad: actor James Nesbitt
Football-mad: actor James Nesbitt

Fresh from showing his support for Northern Ireland at the Euro 2016 finals in France, Coleraine actor James Nesbitt is returning home to open the SuperCup NI international youth football tournament.

The star of ITV drama The Secret will return to his hometown for the event, formerly known as the Milk Cup, on July 24.

Nesbitt, an avid football fan, has been described by organisers as the ideal choice to open the tournament.

Speaking ahead of his homecoming he said he had been inspired by the "astonishing" Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill, a graduate of the tournament himself.

"There was a feelgood factor with us going through to Euro 2016, and progressing out of the group stage was monumental," Nesbitt added.

"Michael is someone who brings people together, and that is something that will be reflected in the level of support this year and the sense of community and brotherhood that there was in France, where the team excelled, and our fans too."

Coleraine FC has had a special place in the football-mad actor's heart ever since his family moved there from Broughshane when he was at primary school.

His other footballing passions are well-known as he is a keen Manchester United and Northern Ireland fan.

His father, also James, often took him to Ballycastle Road to watch the local team play. They still take in matches when their hectic schedule permits, and the actor has provided financial support to the club.

Victor Leonard, chairman of the tournament, said: "Jimmy is probably the most enthusiastic football fan you could ever meet. His passion for the game is infectious.

"I know he will be warmly welcomed in his hometown when we stage the welcome parade through the streets from the Diamond to the ground."

The event takes place on Sunday, July 24 from 7pm. Information on how to purchase tickets can be found on the tournament website

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