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Saints manager hails support for stricken keeper

By Keith Bailie

Southampton Academy Manager Matt Hale hopes that 13-year-old goalkeeper Jack Bycroft will return to the Dale Farm Milk Cup next year, after breaking his leg in his side's opener.

Saints boss Hale was also touched by the County teams' efforts to help comfort the young goalkeeper.

Hale said: "He's 13 still, so he's one of the young ones.

"Hopefully he can come here again next year. There's a chance this won't be the end of his Milk Cup experience.

"He's in the best possible place. He's comfortable now and his mum and dad are with him.

"Everyone was very down on Monday despite the positive result. Everyone was thinking of Jack obviously but this might not be Jack's last Milk Cup," he said.

"The care that he has received both from our medic and staff, plus the ambulance staff, has been fantastic.

"The support from the people at the Lodge Hotel, from different Irish teams in particular, shows what people involved in this tournament are about.

"County teams have come up and said they hope we do something here for Jack. That shows the passion the people have and we all appreciate the support they've offered.

"There has been a lot of support from the Milk Cup, taking staff to the hospital and back.

"They've bent over backwards to help out."

The Saints marched on without young Jack, beating Londonderry 2-1 at Anderson Park yesterday. They've now won both their opening games.

It was a mixed day for the County teams with Tyrone and Antrim recording wins in the Junior section, while Fermanagh lost 4-1 to Rangers at Ballymena Showgrounds

Rangers striker Zak Rudden hit a fine hat-trick with Adedapo Awokoya-Mebude also finding the net.

Tyrone shocked Armagh in the derby at a soggy Riada Stadium in Ballymoney. Tyrone, who are managed by Crusaders midfielder Richard Clarke, won 2-1.

County Antrim are still in the hunt for a place in the semi-finals. Stefan Seaton's lads beat Mexican side Zacatepec 3-0 at the Riada Stadium.

If they can beat Londonderry at Anderson Park today they should reach the last four of the Junior tournament for the second year in a row.

The big shock of the day took place at Anderson Park. County Down, who hammered Brentford 4-0 on Monday, lost 1-0 to Donegal Schools.

Davy Bryson's side believe they should have had a penalty kick late in the game, but the referee waved away their appeals.

Donegal weren't the only southern schools team to claim a victory. North Dublin School League Select defeated Orange County Blues from California 3-1 in Portrush.

Liverpool fans left Coleraine Showgrounds feeling slightly disappointed after the Merseyside giants only managed a 1-1 draw with American side GPS Bayern.

Right To Dream of Ghana maintained their reputation as Junior section favourites with a stunning 8-1 win over Swindon Town in Broughshane.

The African side have now scored 13 goals in their opening two games.

If they can beat Armagh at Coleraine Showgrounds this afternoon they will be assured of a place in the final four.

The man making the headlines is King Baidoo, who has scored six goals so far, with a hat-trick in both matches.

But RTD aren't the only foreign team to impress on the north coast this week.

Australian side Sydney United claimed their second win of the tournament by defeating Roma's American academy side 1-0 in Portstewart.

They play Sheffield United at Roe Mill today.

Brentford bounced back from their 4-0 defeat at the hands of Down on Monday, beating Strikers 1-0 at Roe Mill.

Plymouth Argyle collected their second win of the tournament by defeating Chilean side Colina at Rugby Avenue.

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