all smiles as topflight serves up a real feast
Visiting teams add international flavour to 11th annual Dublin Cup tournament
THE sweet smell of chips drifted in over the carpark at the AUL. The football was just as enticing.
It was the 11th year of the Topflight Dublin Cup. As ever, it was a slick production.
It contained a real international flavour. Teams arrived from Italy, Finland and all across Britain. The Outer Hebrides was represented.
"All left with happy memories," stated DDSL supremo, Paddy Dempsey. "It's getting bigger and better all the time.
"We were delighted with the way it went. The quality of the football was very high."
The schedule included 9-a-side, 7-a-side and 5-a-side formats. It worked a treat.
Topflight's Tony O'Doherty declared that it was one of the best tournaments ever for what has now been firmly established as a real festival of football.
And Tony had high praise for the pitches. "The surfaces here at the AUL are really good. They are so well maintained. It's a credit to them.
"Overall, we were very pleased. And we are already looking forward to next year."
The event kicked off on Friday and didn't conclude until tea-time yesterday.
A neat programme was produced. The DDSL crew were on the ball, and so too was George Victory and his team of referees.
The AUL staff were kindness itself. For the most part, the sun shone. And large crowds arrived each day.
Banbridge Town created some nice memories. Maynard Cull is one of their coaches: "It was a terrific weekend. The organisation was top class. It's good for our players to be meeting so many different teams. They got a lot from it."
Wexford Gold lived up to their name. They won the Irish Ferries Cup.
Their manager is PJ Murphy. He's also the Chairman of the Wexford Schoolboy League.
"The side played very well. We played four matches, won four and only conceded one goal," explained PJ, after the Slaney stars had beaten Shelbourne, Inverness CT, Trombi and the Midland Schools.
"We brought two squads up. We had 27 players in the group. Many of the parents travelled as well. We had a fabulous weekend.
"Schoolboy soccer is strong in Wexford. We'll have 278 teams playing in the new season. We are preparing for the Kennedy Cup."
The Mayo Academy were also chuffed on their journey back to the North West. They took the Quinn's Coach Hire Cup.
Walter Barrett and Joe Redmond are their managers. The captain is Luke O'Reilly. Alan McHale scored a sack of goals. The result from Croke Park put the mayo on it.
"We won five matches. The lads did very well. The organisation of the tournament was A1," remarked Walter.
Shamrock Rovers collected the Dualway Coaches Cup. Jason Carroll and Carl Davis were in charge.
"It was brilliant. We won four from four. The games were of a high standard. This is a boost for the new season.
"It's nice to have a trophy in August. A bit like the Community Shield," quipped Jason.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle also had a ball. It's their seventh year taking part.
"We brought two panels. Our U13s finished runners-up. All the players had a marvellous time," outlined coach, Ronnie Duncan.
Among the Scottish party was the former Inverness first team boss, Charlie Christie.
He saw plenty of kids who could one day be playing in the Scottish Premier.
Remarkably, the two Lourdes Celtic teams finished as joint champions of The Herald Cup. Even goal difference couldn't separate them.
Home Farm lifted the Clarion Hotels Cup. They are managed by the former junior international, John Hand. The captain is Stephen O'Sullivan, son of the Home Farm chairman, Denis.