Teen Leeds star whose career was cut short by car crash gets Milk Cup honour
The opening ceremony of the 2015 Milk Cup will have bittersweet memories for the special guest, ex-Premier League player Peter Mitchell.
In 2002, the Limavady man was living every schoolboy's dream; playing for Premier League side Leeds United when his career was cut short by a car crash at just 18.
"It's something that still haunts me to this day, my accident was on a Sunday and the Milk Cup started the next day," Peter told the Belfast Telegraph.
"Me and my Leeds teammates had a holiday booked but Northern Ireland were having a training camp ahead of the Milk Cup which three of us were invited to, but our holidays were booked and paid for.
"I didn't get selected for the squad; if I had I would have been back in Belfast rather than Leeds and might not have had the accident."
The tournament also has a special place in Peter's heart, as he grew up with the competition nearly on his doorstep. "The Milk Cup was a huge part of my childhood, obviously being from Limavady I grew up watching it and I was lucky enough to play in it four times," said Peter.
"I remember going to the Milk Cup and hearing about players like Joe Cole and going with my friends to watch him play in Limavady; he went on to be an absolute superstar.
"So every year when it comes round it's quite tough," he added.
"It will be an honour, I thought the only reason I would be going to the Milk Cup at 31 years old was if I had made a good career for myself, but it didn't turn out how I wanted it to, but it's a really nice gesture," said Peter.
Peter's first match in the Milk Cup was in 1998, for Derry and District Youth League Squad.
"We felt like little superstars heading to Portrush to stay in a local bed and breakfast," said Peter. "We had a great time and I still dream about the Milk Cup. It was one of the best things I ever did."
Peter played in the Milk Cup three more times, including with then Premier League side Leeds United, twice reaching the semi-finals of the competition.
Since his accident Peter has forged a successful acting career, with appearances in Coronation Street and Hollyoaks, got married and has a key place in the Knights Disabled Basketball Team.
His determination to overcome his disability saw him named as a finalist in the Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards run by our sister newspaper, Sunday Life.