Scottish giants Celtic set sights on SuperCupNI return

Scottish giants Glasgow Celtic will have their sights set on securing their first ever piece of SuperCupNI silverware when the Parkhead side take their place in the Minor Section later on this summer.

The former European Cup winners have been huge supporters of the competition in recent years, with their most recent visit coming in 2019 when they competed in the Premier Section.

Tournament chairperson Victor Leonard said securing such a high-profile team was testament to how well respected the tournament is among the football fraternity.

“We were delighted to see Celtic at the tournament in 2019 and their manager at the time Neil Lennon was very keen for the club to play its part in the tournament.

“Neil is a tournament graduate, and he has given the seal of approval for teams from Hibernian and Celtic to attend the tournament in the past.

“Over the last number of weeks, we have some very positive discussions with staff at the Academy at Celtic and we were delighted that they confirmed their place and they have told us everyone at the Academy is looking forward to coming back to Northern Ireland.

“The Minor Section in recent years has been highly competitive and it has provided some of our local sides a chance to test themselves against some of the very best from across the world.”

The Parkhead outfit are joined in the Minor Section by fellow SPL side Kilmarnock, who are returning to the tournament for the first time since the early noughties. Reigning champions Surf Select from the United States will arrive in Northern Ireland intent on securing back-to-back titles and they are joined by IDA Bermuda from the Caribbean, who had teams at Junior and Premier level last summer.

Tournament regulars Finn Harps and Belvedere FC from Dublin have impressed at the tournament in recent years and will be looking to secure a first ever success for a team from the Republic of Ireland.

There are 10 Northern Irish club sides also involved in the Minor category, including 2019 winners Glentoran and 2019 runners-up Dungannon United Youth.

Belfast giants Linfield have yet to taste success at the tournament and they are joined in the Minor Section by regulars Larne FC and Glenavon FC.

Local favourites Coleraine FC and Ballymena United will no doubt receive plenty of support during the tournament and there is a tournament debut for Portstewart FC, who have been making waves locally as they continue to develop and enhance their youth section.

The final two entrants are Warrenpoint Town and Loughgall Youth, who made their debut at the tournament last summer.

The 2023 tournament kicks off on Sunday 23rd July with our welcoming ceremony in Coleraine and concludes with finals day on Friday 28th July. Matches will be played across three council areas, Causeway, Coast and Glens, Mid and East Antrim and Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.