Belfast Telegraph

SuperCupNI: There is more to come from Club NI kids after impressive start, says boss Devine

By Keith Bailie

The future of football in Northern Ireland is in safe hands, thanks to former Glentoran goalkeeper Declan Devine.

His Club NI side made an instant impact in the Junior Section of the SuperCupNI, defeating County Fermanagh 3-0 at Anderson Park. Club NI, an Irish FA Academy side, are an Under-14 team playing in an Under-15 competition.

Former Derry City boss Devine said: “It was a fantastic win when you consider these kids are all a year younger.

“The pleasing thing is that they kept a clean sheet and played a bit — but there is more to come. It’s a big step to play a year up at this age, and to have all your players doing that is difficult because physicality can take over the game.

“But our lads were terrific. They scored three really good goals and the movement was good. It’s early stages, but these boys, under the direction of Jim Magilton, have travelled all over the world, playing against the likes of Atletico Madrid and PSG.

“But this was the most nervous I’ve seen them, probably because their parents and grandparents were here. It’s a good start but there will be more to take out of this tournament.”

Sean McAllister’s low strike gave Club NI the lead just before half-time before substitute Matthew Lusty scored two second-half goals.

Another county side that suffered defeat was Londonderry, who lost 2-0 to Mexican side Chivas at Scroggy Road in Limavady.

David Bryson’s Down also lost as SuperCup regulars Cherry Orchard won 2-0 in Portrush, with both goals from Kyle Cosgrove.

Tyrone followed in the footsteps of Derry and Down and lost 2-0 as English club Plymouth Argyle ran out comfortable winners in Limavady.

The county side that produced the best performance at Junior level was Stefan Seaton’s Antrim, who held Premier League Academy side Southampton to 1-1 at the Riada Stadium in Ballymoney. At the Coleraine Showgrounds, County Armagh drew 1-1 with Rangers.

It was a mixed day for the Junior Section’s American clubs.

Los Angeles outfit The Strikers beat Dundalk Schools 2-1 in Castlerock, while touring side First Choice Soccer lost 2-0 to Sheffield United in Ballymoney. The Blades have already tasted success in Northern Ireland this summer with their Under-12s winning the Foyle Cup.

NC Elite from Illinois lost 2-1 to Middlesbrough in Castlerock.

Massachusetts club Global Premier Soccer Bayern defeated New Zealand club M Sport 3-0 at Anderson Park.

Elsewhere, Swindon Town and North Dublin Schools played out a scoreless draw in Clough.

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