Belfast Telegraph

Antrim coach hails hat-trick hero Callum Marshall as County begin treble bid

Happy days: Antrim ace Connor Scannell celebrates making it 2-0
Happy days: Antrim ace Connor Scannell celebrates making it 2-0

By Keith Bailie

Stefan Seaton's Antrim side are dreaming of making history in this year's Junior section.

If they lift the famous trophy on Friday evening, they will become the first team to win the Junior competition three years in succession.

They made an impressive start to this year's SuperCupNI, defeating Dundalk Schools League 5-1 at Broughshane with Glentoran youngster Callum Marshall bagging a hat-trick.

Seaton said: "It's a big moment for young Callum. I'm delighted for him because I have worked with him in one form or another since he was nine, and it's brilliant to see him start to fulfil his potential.

"Funnily enough, although I'm delighted with the scoreline, it wasn't a fantastic performance. We are capable of better and I expect to see more from the boys in the coming days.

"We have Fermanagh tomorrow and the boys know they will need to lift their game."

Despite yesterday's comfortable victory, Seaton thinks it's too early to say if Antrim can complete an incredible hat-trick.

"You never really know with the SuperCup. Sometimes you think you have a fantastic team and for whatever reason it doesn't go your way," he said.

"We have good squads at both Junior and Premier level, but we won't know until Wednesday whether or not they will be in with a chance of winning the main tournament.

"We have been fortunate enough to win it at both Premier and Junior level in recent years, but it's too early to say if we will be there on finals night this year.

"The important thing is that the kids learn from the experience of playing in this competition and it has a positive impact on their life."

While Antrim celebrated, it was a tough day for Armagh, who lost 6-0 to Rangers at the Riada in Ballymoney. Gary McAlister's County Down also lost, going down 2-0 to O'Higgins of Chile at the Coleraine Showgrounds.

County Londonderry drew 1-1 with Plymouth Argyle, Tyrone claimed a 2-0 victory over Bracknell Town in Portrush, and Londoners Charlton Athletic beat Fermanagh 5-0.

Manchester United found themselves 2-0 down against American club Strikers at Broughshane, but fought back to draw 2-2.

Fellow Premier League academy team Arsenal had more joy against US opposition. They beat Global Premier Soccer 2-1 at Scroggy Road.

Newcastle side Wallsend Boys marked their debut with a 1-1 draw against Mexican side Pumas. Leeds United played out a scoreless draw with Dundee United in Limavady, while Cherry Orchard and Colina also failed to find the net at Castlerock.

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