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Watch: Londonderry's Lee Harkin downs Manchester United to put his name in SuperCupNI lights

Manager Smith praises Co Londonderry as boy wonder bags double to inspire famous triumph over Man United

By Keith Bailie

Remember the name Lee Harkin.

The County Londonderry starlet lit up the Coleraine Showgrounds with a stunning performance that saw him register two goals against Manchester United as the local side recorded a famous 2-1 win.

As manager Martin Smith was at pains to point out, it was a team performance but Harkin’s impact was hard to ignore.

The 15-year-old may even get a dream move to Old Trafford, with United’s scouts already aware of the Derry City youngster’s huge potential.

Smith said: “Lee is a top player. To have that much talent in the locker at 15 is something else. If he keeps his head and keeps progressing, he will do really well for himself.

“Manchester United know all about him, he was there on trial a month ago. He was very unlucky not to get his hat-trick.

“But the boys were superb from one to 11, plus all the subs. I can’t fault any of them. It was a team effort and I’m absolutely delighted.

“We’re in a tough group with United, Rangers and Club NI, but I think we’ve shown that we can compete. We will relax and go again against Club NI, which will be another very difficult game.”

Harkin opened the scoring after just 25 seconds. The boys from Derry attacked the Red Devils straight from kick-off, setting Harkin free on the right flank.

The highly-rated youngster produced an audacious lob that United goalkeeper Daniel Polakowski could only help into the net.

Derry’s lead didn’t last long though. The County side conceded in the ninth minute when United’s Nigerian striker Jovani Molenge followed up an effort with a rebound to equalise.

At the start of the second half, Charlie Savage, son of pundit, ex-footballer and former Milk Cup winner Robbie, almost gave United the lead with a beautiful free-kick that hit the bar.

Harkin thought he had scored again for Londonderry when he cut in from the flank and drilled in from an angle, only for the goal to be ruled out as the referee’s assistant believed the ball had gone behind for a goal kick.

Harkin scored another stunning goal 14 minutes into the second half. He shimmied in from the flank before smashing the ball into the roof of the net from just inside the area. That proved to be the winner.

In the same group, Club NI drew 1-1 with Rangers, while County Armagh also claimed a scalp, beating Leeds United 2-0 at Seahaven in Portstewart.

Southampton confirmed their credentials as potential title contenders with an impressive 4-0 win over County Tyrone at Anderson Park in Coleraine.

Reflecting on his side’s win, Southampton Academy Director Matt Hale said: “It’s our best start to the tournament for a few years. It was a tight first half but we scored a couple of early goals in the second half and that settled the game.”

While it was a tough afternoon for Tyrone against English opposition, Gary McAlister’s County Down celebrated a 3-1 win over Charlton Athletic.

Ards player Jonah Heron opened the scoring after 55 seconds with Lewis Davidson and Jamie McDarby adding goals.

County Antrim claimed a point, drawing 1-1 with Mexican side Chivas at Anderson Park, while Fermanagh drew 1-1 with Plymouth Argyle at Clough with Jamal Tavares on target.

Dundalk Schools defeated Chilean side Colina 2-0 at the Riada in Ballymoney, while Cherry Orchard beat American outfit Global Premier Soccer 1-0 at Castlerock. However, Dublin Schools lost 3-0 to Strikers.

Belfast Telegraph

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