Young players meet Michael O’Neill’s mark

Riley Deans of the Greenisland 2011 team is presented with a Northern Ireland football shirt from team manager, Michael O'Neill after winning a penalty shootout in association with Ginster's, an official partner of the Irish FA at SPAR Fortfield's Customer Celebration event.
Riley Deans of the Greenisland 2011 team is presented with a Northern Ireland football shirt from team manager, Michael O'Neill after winning a penalty shootout in association with Ginster's, an official partner of the Irish FA at SPAR Fortfield's Customer Celebration event.

Two young footballers from east Antrim have been hailed by Northern Ireland manager, Michael O’Neill, as having the potential to be top players.

Riley Deans of the Greenisland 2011 team and George Alexander of the Whitehead Eagles Junior Academy 2012 team won a penalty shoot out which took place at the SPAR Fortfield store in Carrickfergus under the professional eye of O’Neill.

The occasion was part of a Customer Appreciation Event run by SPAR Fortfield for their shoppers.

The penalty shoot out was in association with Ginsters, an official partner of the Irish FA, and store manager Adrian Mellon said it was a real highlight of the day for the young players from Greenisland and Whitehead.

Adrian said: “It was a pleasure to be able to invite players from both teams along to show off their skills to Michael O’Neill.

“We’ve had a fantastic week celebrating our community, who we’ve been getting to know since we opened last December. We’ve no doubt some of our young players have even been scouted to be the next generation of Northern Ireland players.”

Michael O’Neill added: “It was brilliant to meet some young players and football fans from the Carrickfergus and wider east Antrim area and we’re always happy to support our commercial partners who have a vital role to play in the future of football in Northern Ireland.”

Mike Smith, Ginsters Marketing Director, continued: “We are passionate about football and are delighted to be an official partner of the Irish FA - allowing us to spread our love for the beautiful game in Northern Ireland.

“As official savoury pastry partner we’re proud to be associated with a team and manager that so evidently share our values of being honest, down to earth and dedicated.”

SPAR Fortfield opened in December 2018 as a brand-new store concept for owners Henderson Retail, part of the family-run Henderson Group, based in Mallusk.