Belfast Telegraph

SuperCupNI: Man United remain on course for another tilt at trophy

Duo double up to stave off a brave fight from Fermanagh

By Keith Bailie

Manchester United took a big step towards the semi-finals of the Junior Section of the SuperCupNI with a hard-fought victory over County Fermanagh.

The Old Trafford outfit’s Under-15 side recorded a 4-2 win at the Ballymena Showgrounds, where Teden Mengi and Ademipo Odubeko bagged braces in front of another bumper crowd.

Fermanagh’s Eimhin Curran (below) also weighed in with a double, but it wasn’t enough to prevent victory for United, who face Southampton at the Coleraine Showgrounds this afternoon in the knowledge that a win should see them progress to tomorrow’s semi-finals.

It would crown a welcome return to the tournament for United after a two-year absence, with long-serving welfare and education officer Dave Bushell explaining: “Playing in the SuperCup is a fantastic experience for these boys.

“We have been coming here for 30 years and every boy who plays here gains a great deal of experience from this competition.

“We’ve also had great success in this tournament. Hopefully the Juniors can continue that tradition this year.”

Outside of Manchester United, one of the main talking points of the Junior Section has been the rise of Club NI.

Despite being a full year younger than every other side in the Junior Section, Declan Devine’s team continue to upset the odds. They added to Monday’s win over Fermanagh by defeating English club Sheffield United 2-0 in Castlerock.

Devine said: “This competition gives our local lads a great opportunity to showcase their talents to English scouts. If a few more of our boys can earn professional contracts then that is a success for us. Player development is more important to us than winning matches.”

In an all-county clash, it was Stefan Seaton’s Co. Antrim who took the honours at the Ballymena Showgrounds, beating David Bryson’s Down 1-0.

First-half goals from Chris Hutchinson and Harry Anderson gave Armagh a 2-1 win over North Dublin Schoolboys’ League in Broughshane. The Orchard County now have four points from their opening two games.

Tyrone bounced back from Monday’s defeat at the hands of Plymouth Argyle to beat New Zealanders M Sport 5-0 in Castlerock.

The superb Marito Marcal grabbed a spectacular hat-trick, with Conor Williamson and Oran McGrath also chipping in.

Londonderry and American side First Choice Soccer played out an entirely forgettable 0-0 draw, while former finalists Southampton have not found their form this week. They lost 2-0 to Cherry Orchard, who are sitting pretty on six points.

Swindon Town made short work of LA club Strikers, winning 5-0 at the Riada, with Mexican side Chivas — tipped as potential Junior Section winners — showing their class in a 4-1 defeat of Plymouth.

In Clough, Middlesbrough played out an entertaining 2-2 draw with GPS Bayern, whose fellow Americans NC Elite defeated Dundalk Schools 3-1 at Anderson Park.

Rangers entertained a large crowd at Scroggy Road in Limavady, where the Scottish club thumped Chileans Colina 5-0. It’s been a tough start to the tournament for the South Americans, who lost to Manchester United 3-0 on Monday night.

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