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Fun is the goal in mini World Cup

YOUNG Dublin soccer fans are staging their own World Cup this summer --to coincide with the South African tournament which takes place next month.

Some 830 young players are participating in the Cabinteely Football Club's Mini World Cup (MWC) which takes place in Kilbogget Park, Killiney, Co Dublin from next Tuesday, June 1 to June 12.

The competition, which has been running for the past 21 years, will feature soccer enthusiasts from all over South Dublin, who'll be fighting tifor awards.

Dermot O Connor, one of the organisers, said: "We've over 830 participants playing from aged five years to 12, and we've a girls' section and a special needs section.

"All the teams are of mixed ability. We pick the teams and it's all about the fun aspect of football. You don't know who you're playing until you turn up."

Each age group will represent a different continent or region in the world, with some teams representing Northern African countries like Algeria, Chad and Libya or South American teams.

And while the country attempts to get over its sorrow over losing out to France, the young players will be playing their hearts out just for fun.

"It's on for two weeks, and all the players will come back and play on the final day, regardless of who is winning. Around 700 of the children will get a trophy," said Dermot.

"It's not about winning, it's open to everyone. It's the kids in the locality that come out and play, and even kids who have moved away come back. It's a community-based thing."

Around 70 teams are taking part in this championship, with parents volunteering as managers.

Cabinteely's Mini World Cup attracts hundreds of spectators who fill car park spaces in all neighbourhoods, at all entrances to the park and in temporary car parks created within the park itself.