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Cream of aspiring football talent kicks off campaign to land Milk Cup

By Nevin Farrell

The threat of heavy rain forced a parade through Coleraine to mark the start of the Dale Farm Milk Cup youth football tournament to be cancelled for the first time in 33 years.

But from the sound of the cheers inside the Showgrounds, not even the terrible weather will be able to keep the football stars of the future from taking to the field once the ref's whistle blows for today's first games.

Dozens of aspiring Premier League players crammed into the stadium for a colourful opening ceremony ahead of five days of matches in venues from Ballymena to Limavady.

Milk Cup spokesman Jim Sandford described the weather as "absolutely horrendous". He said holding off on the parade was in the interests of the young footballers who have to play five games this week. "The last thing they would want to do is to get soaked and be ill for the rest of the week," he said.

Matches start today with finals played at Ballymena Showgrounds on Friday, July 31.

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