A great shop window says coach Brendan

The Lurgan players from the Co Armagh Premier squad.
The Lurgan players from the Co Armagh Premier squad.

When it comes to the Milk Cup Brendan Grimes is a seasoned campaigner.

The Lurgan man is looking forward to another challenge as he takes his Co Armagh Premier Squad into games against Manchester United, Bohemians and Gold Coast Australia.

“I have been going to the Milk Cup for the past 14 years, first with the Mid-Ulster teams along with Billy McClatchey and then the Co Armagh players working up to the Premier squad,” said Brendan who also scouts for Glenavon.

“It is a fantastic opportunity for the young lads. It is a football competition, but it’s not all about winning. This is a great shop window for them if they have any ambitions of playing in full-time football.

“It worked for young Aaron Duke last year as he made the move to Dundee and there are opportunities again this year as scouts from all over the world will be there looking for players who they think can make it.

“Not everyone can go into full-time football, but they can have a good career here in the Irish League.”

The Co Armagh boys landed the big draw of the tournament in Manchester United which is the second game on their three match schedule.

“If we had the choice I would have preferred the Man United game first,” added Brendan.

“We have Bohemians first and then United. I would prefer to face them first up with a fresh, injury free squad, but we’ll take what comes along.”

The selection process began a few months ago, but choosing players has it’s own headaches.

“We begin the selection process in April and out of about 50 or 60 players we cut it down to the final 18,” added Brendan.

“It is hard when you have to leave players out but we don’t have the same problems as say Antrim who maybe have to cut it down from around 300.

“We then begin to work with the squad, get them games and finally primed for the competition.

“We finish off on Saturday with our last friendly against Fermanagh and that will give us some idea of where we are and what we can expect to do.

“It is very difficult to predict how you will do, you just know it will be a huge challenge and a great learning experience.”