News

Man United, Rangers and Newcastle set for MEA as festival of football prepares for kickoff

Monday 16 July 2018

The best young players on the planet are set for Mid and East Antrim for a week-long festival of football during this year’s SuperCupNI.

‘Phenomenal’ SuperCupNI hailed as a great result for Mid and East Antrim

The 2018 competition will see teams from 15 nations from across the globe represented at the competition.

And fans’ favourites Manchester United, Rangers and Newcastle United are among the stellar teams playing in Mid and East Antrim.

In total 58 teams will compete in the U15 (Junior) and U17 (Premier) section at the tournament, which gets underway in the coming days.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Lindsay Millar, said: "The SuperCupNI continues to be one of the biggest events in the sporting calendar and we are honoured to be hosting several matches as well as having the privilege of staging the finals at Ballymena Showgrounds.

“This event puts Mid and East Antrim in the spotlight, showcasing some of the superb sports facilities we have on offer within the Borough.

“The competition is great for the economy and tourism, and shows we are open for business.

“We look forward to welcoming all of the fantastic teams, families and fans from across the world.”

Crowd pullers Manchester United were the first name out of the hat at the draw and the Old Trafford youngsters have been placed in a tough group with Rangers FC, 2017 semi-finalists Club NI and County Londonderry.

There’s an all-county affair in Group C as County Fermanagh take on County Antrim, with Plymouth Argyle and Chivas Guadalajara from Mexico completing their group.

In the Premier section defending champions Right to Dream from Ghana will face the team they defeated in the final last July. They will take on Club America from Mexico and their group is completed by Scottish side Partick Thistle and County Tyrone.

Group E will see Russian outfit Spartak Moscow take on Brazilian side Osasco, County Antrim and County Fermanagh.

Tournament chairman Victor Leonard said the 2017 competition will live long in the memory, but he has high hopes of the 2018 competition exceeding those lofty heights.

He added: “Our gate receipts at the 2017 competition were up by 20% and last year weather wise and football wise we witnessed one of the best competitions in years.

“We have been on an incredible journey and over the last 36 years we have witnessed quite a few changes.

“Everyone is really looking forward to a tremendous week of football.”

This year’s competition will see five different categories competed for – the U17 Premier section, the U15 Junior section, the U13 Minor section, a girls’ competition and the U19 Challenge game between Manchester United and Celtic, which will take place on Saturday 21 July at the Coleraine Showgrounds.

The SuperCupNI, formerly known as the Milk Cup, dates back to 1983 and has previously featured players who went on to become superstars, including current Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis and Manchester United legends David Beckham and Wayne Rooney.

SuperCupNI multi match tickets are available online and in local outlets.

Buy yours via PayPal and get them in the post, or they can be collected locally from the Tourist Information Centre at The Braid, Warden Street or Seven Towers Leisure Centre.

At Ballymena Showgrounds a new arena at the rear of the Showgrounds complex is being used to facilitate the SuperCup tournament this year. 

The SuperCup matches at the Showgrounds are 100% ticketed, and spectators are advised get there early to purchase tickets on site.

Entrance to the Showgrounds by car or on foot is via Warden Street and the Slemish Drive turnstiles (parking in Slemish Drive car park), or via the Ecos roundabout to the Showground’s rear car park. 

Tickets must be purchased for respective arena seated and standing areas from Slemish Drive turnstiles or the ticket booths in the Showground’s rear car park. 

Holders of multi-match tickets must present these at the ticket booths to receive a seated/standing allocation before arriving at the arena access point.

For any queries regarding Showgrounds entrance arrangements, please E: showgrounds.reception@midandeastantrim.gov.uk or T: 028 2563 3290.

For the very latest on this year’s SuperCupNI, please visit the SuperCup NI website.

Photograph: Last year’s winning Co Antrim team at the SuperCupNI. Picture courtesy of SuperCupNI.