Belfast Telegraph

County Londonderry hope to home in on Super glory

By Keith Bailie

County Londonderry will host SuperCupNI's opening ceremony tomorrow evening when local actor Jimmy Nesbitt roles into town.

Last year, heavy rain caused the cancellation of the traditional parade through Coleraine town centre.

This year, the tournament's organisers fully expect the event to be a major success, with the parade through the town followed by the opening ceremony at the Coleraine Showgrounds at 7pm.

Actor Nesbitt will be the tournament's guest of honour.

The last time the Cold Feet star attended a big football occasion was when Northern Ireland played in the Euro 2016 finals.

The big Coleraine and Manchester United supporter became the king of the selfie in France with hundreds of Northern Ireland fans asking for pictures.

He happily obliged joining in with the fun had by the Green and White Army in the country's first major tournament since the 1986 World Cup.

The opening ceremony will be particularly special for the players of County Londonderry, who will have the opportunity to parade in front of their friends and family.

Londonderry coach Ollie Mullan said: "It's a great thing for lads of this age, particularly from our county as all their mothers, fathers and friends will be there to watch.

"It should be a special occasion."

Although Derry are the home county, boss Mullan doesn't believe it gives them any sort of advantage.

"I don't think it really helps," he says.

"How you do at this tournament comes down to how well you've prepared in eight weeks before the SuperCupNI, not whether you've home advantage."

County Londonderry's Premier side will start their campaign at Scroggy Road in Limavady on Monday, where they will face Belgium side Mechelen.

On Tuesday, Derry will travel to the Ballymena Showgrounds for a derby match against current holders County Antrim.

That promises to be quite a contest.

On Wednesday, the Premier side complete the qualifying round with a fixture against Brazilian club Ponte Preta at the Coleraine Showgrounds.

Ponte Preta are from the city of Campinas in the state of Sao Paulo.

Derry's Junior section starts at noon on Monday when they face Cherry Orchard in Roe Valley.

On Tuesday, the Under 15 team will play Colina at Anderson Park in Coleraine, before they finish the qualification round with an intriguing game against the American touring side First Choice Soccer at Parker Avenue in Portrush.

Belfast Telegraph


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