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Simply the best

SWEET music from the car park of the AUL Complex. The FM104 Roadcaster was in residence. The Clonshaugh fields of gold obliged with the special request to provide another football festival to remember.

It was the eighth year of the Dublin Cup, the tournament sponsored by Umbro and run in association with Topflight Soccer and the DDSL.

It was the biggest yet, with 75 teams taking part, from all over Ireland and Britain. The competition has seen commendable growth since its first venture which saw just over 40 teams from Dublin sign up.

This year's event began last Friday morning and concluded just before the Angelus bell on Sunday.

It was a long weekend in more ways than one for all the crew that put the show on the road. Back in the nerve centre, the praise flowed for the folks that kept it all together, Ilaria, Caroline, Anita, Francoise and all the busy officials.

"Don't forget those in the canteen who provided us with lovely grub over the three days," said DDSL chief, Tommy Heffernan.

There were 12 different competitions from Under-11 to Under-17. And the football was of a very high standard.

"There were plenty of competitive matches," added Tommy. "It was the ideal pre-season preparation for the clubs."

It was also clear how the Spanish triumph at the World Cup is already having an influence. Quick, sharp passing and ball to feet was the order of the day. There wasn't much hit and hope.

The pitches helped with the ambition to play football as it should be played. The surfaces were like the greens down in Killarney.

One of the best duels was the U-16 Stena Line Cup final ,where St Patrick's Athletic beat Home Farm 2-1. Pat's had done their homework. They had a three-day Camp, training for five to six hours a day at their home ground.

"The lads were on holidays, so we thought it would be a good idea to get them together for the few days," explained Ben Smithers, who runs the squad with Ben Casserly, Ken Brady, Joe Byrne and Thomas Byrne.

"We were delighted to win the trophy, although we did a bit of a Spain on it by losing our first game to Clontarf, 2-1!"

Pat's then defeated St Kevin's Boys 3-1 and Banbridge Town 5-1 to progress to the final. "It was our third year to take part and it was the first time we reached the final," noted Ben. "We had five or six new players, so it took us a while to settle, but the more games we played the better we got."


Ballybrack Boys collected the Umbro U-15 Shield without conceding a goal in their four ties. As the great Brian Clough always said: "Good sides are built from the back."

The Umbro U-15 Cup final provided a classical local derby in which Lourdes Celtic pipped Crumlin United.

Drimnagh Celtic are next door to Crumlin and they remained unbeaten to lift the Stena Line U-16 Shield.

"It's our first time to enter the tournament. It was very well organised. It's so pleasing to have won it," declared manager Eddie O'Neill, who paid tribute to the coaching of David Hyland.

Like St Pat's, Drimnagh had put effort into their preparation. They were trained by Olympic gold medal winner, Michael Carruth!

"It's getting better every year. The facilities at the AUL are superb. The AUL people were very kind to us. All credit to the players, managers, coaches, referees and all those hard-workers behind the scenes.

"Hopefully everybody will be back again next year," remarked Tommy Heffernan. Tommy's views were echoed by Tournament founder Tony O'Doherty of Topflight.

"The feedback has been very positive, and we are all looking forward to the ninth year. We are very grateful to all our sponsors," stated Tony.

"And it's nice to report that the prices haven't gone up in the last eight years. I think that's terrific when you consider that the visiting clubs are staying in four-star hotels."

Four-star hotels and five-star football.

Roll on 2011.