Players everywhere are starting to rummage through the bottom of their cupboards or in the back shed looking for their footy boots, because the start of a new season is just around the corner. The traditional Football Far North Coast pre-season competitions begin soon, with the Anzac Cup and Callan McMillan Memorial Shield kicking off in March.
The Anzac Cup first ran in 1950, with the inaugural trophy won by the Methodist United club. The competition was for male players only in those days and the Anzac Cup has become a prestigious and historically significant trophy, growing to incorporate several divisions. Goonellabah will aim to defend the title they won last year (and in 2010) and they are sure to be hard to beat again this year.
Female football was first established locally in 1974 and became part of the inaugural Far North Coast Amateur Soccer Association Committee in 1977. The Callan McMillan Memorial Shield was struck in 1978 to commemorate one of the local pioneers of the sport and female teams from far and wide competed for the shield in those initial years. When the women's association amalgamated with the Lismore District Association in 1996, the decision was made to incorporate the shield to coincide with the men's Anzac Cup competition.
2012 will see the 35th Callan McMillan Memorial Shield contested, with Alstonville chasing a third consecutive title. The McMillan family continues its proud connection with the event, with Mrs McMillan (widow of the late Callan McMillan senior and mother of the late Callan McMillan junior) present at the 2012 launch. Long-time community sponsors, Tursa Employment and Training, will continue their sponsorship and their energetic marketing manager, Glenn Costello, said his organisation was delighted to be associated with such a significant event in local sport.
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