In barely six seasons since its formation in 2006, Lisburn Distillery’s Youth Academy
has grown to boast over 130 players and 30 members of staff in its ranks.
In addition to being the only club with a team at every age group in the Lisburn Junior Invitational League (LJIL), the Wee Whites have a complete set-up from Mini-Soccer up to and including the clubs Youth Team in the Irish Youth League Section A to feed into Manager Tim McCann’s reserve and first team squads.
In 2008 the LDFC Academy achieved its first major piece of silverware, when the Youth Team lifted the coveted Harry Cavan Youth Cup for the first ever time at Mourneview Park against Portadown. When Lisburn Distillery faced Portadown in the Co-Operative Insurance Cup (Irish League Cup) Final at the same venue on April 2nd 2011, ex-Harry Cavan winners such as Mark Patton, Mark Cooling and Scott Davidson were all in the first team squad after progressing through the ranks to see the Whites lift their first senior trophy in almost twenty years.
There has been individual success for many players involved in County set-ups and the Milk Cup during recent seasons, whilst Sean Morgan and Blane Scott were selected for the NI Schools Under 18 Centenary Shield Squad while Under 17s forward Michael Fegan has recently been awarded a Soccer Scholarship in America: fantastic achievements for the players and the club as a whole.
During 2010/11 the Wee Whites efforts, on and off the pitch saw the academy begin to make their mark in terms of silverware. The Under 17 team were crowned NIBFA Cup Winners defeating Cliftonville in the final, whilst the Under 15s were League and Cup winners in the LJIL. In addition, the Under 16s finished runners up in their own age group in the LJIL and Shield competition.
In 2011/12 the Under 14s stole the show with a fantastic treble of their very own securing the LJIL League title as well as winning the cup and shield competitions. The team also went on to reach the final of the NIBFA Cup only to be beaten by Oxford Utd 2-1 after extra time.
All this cannot be achieved without a dedicated and committed list of staff, all of which are volunteers. The Academy are also extremely grateful to their sponsors and supporters who continue to enable these huge steps to be realised. The Academy’s mantra is that ‘The Futures Bright: The Futures White!’ Here’s to another great season for the Wee Whites!
Lisburn Distillery’s Head of Development is Tim McCann, The committee contribute to the day to day administration and management of the academy. They are:
Billy Sinclair : Academy Co-Ordinator
Ged Irwin:Academy Chairman & LDFC Community Relations Officer
David Irwin: Academy Secretary
Terry Thompson: Finance Officer
Colin Geddis: Media/Website
Dawn Gregory: Child Protection Officer
Ashley Wragg: Club Secretary/Licensing Rep.
John Duffy: Youth Team Rep. to the IFA and County Antrim FA