Derby to return for Sligo Super Cup
"We've been to tournaments all over the world and not gone back; we came to Sligo once and now we're coming back for the third year. That tells you all you need to know about how highly we regard the Sligo Super Cup."
The words of John Barton, the Academy Operations Manager at Derby County, as he confirms his club's participation in Sligo Super Cup 2020 to be held at Sligo Showgrounds on April 24/26th next.
The talented Derby youngsters have graced the elite under-12 competition with some sparkling skills in the past two years, narrowly missing ultimate glory in 2018 when edged out on penalties by Dublin District Schoolboys League in a thrilling final.
"The quality of the tournament, the high standard of opposition, and the invaluable experience it offers to our young players are among the big attactions for us. It's gain, gain, gain, all the way," Mr. Barton confirms.
"Some of the lads travelling to Sligo next year will never have been outside their own country before. So the flight, the accommodation, travelling together as a team, preparing for the tournament, recovering between games in such a short period of time and playing at such a top class League of Ireland stadium - all of this will be new to them and it's a terrific opportunity for kids of this age.
"Hopefully, the experience will improve them as players, but more importantly it will give them memories to last a lifetime," he adds.
The meticulous preparation invested by the organisers is not lost on the Derby supremo either.
"From our participation in the tournament in the past two years, it's obvious that the organisers are really dedicated and professional in what they do. It's a really slick, well organised tournament with no hiccups. I would definitely say it's among the best we've attended. It's an important date in our diary an we're really looking forward to it.
"The young players are on countdown - it's a bit like Christmas for them," John says.
Meanwhile, preparations are well advanced for what promises to be the best ever tournament line up. Alongside Derby County, top class academies such as Aberdeen, Linfield and two-times winners, Dublin District Schoolboys League (DDSL) have already been confirmed.
"The roster is taking shape in a very positive way," says Tournament Director, Packie Lynch. "Having a club of the stature of Derby County returning for the third year in a row is a massive vote of confidence. It enhances Sligo's reputation as a location for top international youth football, which is a huge boost not only for those of us involved in the promotion of football but for the Sligo region as a whole."
Confirmation of further top class participants is expected in the coming weeks.