Brighton defender Shane Duffy, was the guest of honour at the 28th Anniversary of the O’Neills Foyle Cup launch tonight.
The former Foyle Harps man, who played in the Foyle Cup competition from age 12 up until 16 before signing pro terms with Everton, expressed his delight in being invited to be this year’s guest of honour in his own city.
“It’s a massive honour for me to be asked to launch this tournament,” he said.
”Obviously I’ve played in the competition over many years and coming from Derry, it gave me the opportunities that got me to where I am today. This event has grown so much in stature and importance that I believe the tournament has become an excellent pathway into professional football for many local kids.
“Young footballers in the city don’t have that many chances to showcase their talents. Taking part in the Foyle Cup gives them the chance to show scouts from England and Scotland that they can play at a higher level. So it’s a massive opportunity for the young lads. More and more players from this area are being afforded opportunities annually to transfer to cross channel clubs.”
The O’Neills Foyle Cup tournament will take place in the Derry, Strabane and Causeway Coast & Glens Council areas from July 16 to July 21 with a record 400 teams competing in this year’s event.
Considering that the Foyle Cup began as an eight-team, one-day event in 1992, it is a significant achievement that it has now grown into one of the largest youth tournaments, a point not lost on the title sponsors O’Neills.
Chairman of the organising committee, Mr. Michael Hutton, extended his thanks to the guest of honour, Shane Duffy who, he stated, is the perfect example of a Foyle Cup success story: “It’s great to have one of our local lads here launching the O’Neills Foyle Cup. Shane is a great example to all our local footballers in what he has achieved already in his career, not least as a professional footballer playing in the Premier League in England but even more so, in so proudly being recognised as Player of Year most recently for his country.
“We extend our thanks to him for being with us this evening. Irrespective which club anyone supports in this city, all of us are delighted and proud of Shane’s achievements in football.”
The O’Neills Foyle Cup tournament will take place in the Derry, Strabane and Causeway Coast & Glens Council areas from July 16 to July 21 with a record 400 teams competing.
For more details of the event visit www.foylecup.com or contact 02871359734.