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Last Updated: Monday, 17 October 2005, 20:23 GMT 21:23 UK
Late kick-off for 2006 Milk Cup
Milk Cup fan Stuart Cameron
Milk Cup fan Stuart Cameron is on the ball with the dates for 2006
The success of this summer's late start of the Milk Cup has led organisers to go for a repeat in 2006.

Record numbers watched the popular international youth tournament this year with attendances up by 25%.

The event was moved from its usual July date to the first week in August because the European U19 Championships were being staged in Northern Ireland.

The tournament starts on Monday, 31 July and ends with the finals on Friday, 4 August.

The popular parade of competing teams and welcome ceremony at Coleraine Showgrounds is scheduled for Sunday, July 30.

Despite some concerns that the change could hit attendances at one of Europe's premier youth competitions, chairman Victor Leonard said the opposite proved to be the case.

"We studied attendance figures across the seven centres and have seen a significant increase which is encouraging news," he said.

"It seems that the early August date is popular and that's why we are running next year's tournament at the same time.

The other major plus factor for officials this year was the standard of entry, particularly from European club sides.

"The August dates seems to work very well for continental sides in particular," added Mr Leonard.

"We had a real quality entry this year with Barcelona, Benfica, Red Star Belgrade, FC Porto, CSKA Moscow and Feyenoord here.

"The date also suits English clubs and we will be working hard to retain sides such as Chelsea, Manchester United, Newcastle United and Everton."


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