Leeds United and Republic of Ireland legend Johnny Giles believes the Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup is a ‘fantastic opportunity’ for young footballers to showcase their talent.
Commenting at the official launch of the 2016 Foyle Cup tournament at the City Hotel last night, Giles said it was an honour to be asked to attend the event.
The RTE sport pundit added that the tournament can become an excellent pathway into professional football and can offer an opportunity for local players to follow in the footsteps of internationals Danny Lafferty, Paddy McCourt, Shay Given, Robbie Keane, Darron Gibson, James McClean, Seamus Coleman and John O’Shea, who all played in the international tournament.
“The likes of O’Shea and Given played in Foyle Cup over the years and went on to play at international level which is fantastic,” said Giles.
“It’s fantastic for young kids and it’s a good time for scouts from the bigger clubs to come and watch these players.
“It’s a massive honour for me to be asked to launch this tournament,” added Giles.
“This event is very highly regarded by clubs playing all over Ireland and UK and ranks up there with the very best.”
Also attending the event was Derry City manager, Kenny Shiels who praised Foyle Cup Chairman, Michael Hutton for his outstanding work in making the tournament a huge success each year.
“It’s a fantastic tournament,” said the Derry boss. “I regard it as a fantastic showcase of our sport. The contribution our sport makes to bringing working class communities together is superb.
“I’m really proud of my sport and the Foyle Cup is one of those tournament that brings people from all parts of the world to this city.
“People appreciate what it does for Derry and Michael Hutton deserves so much credit.
“He’s been the mainstay of the tournament and has worked tirelessly from one year to the next to make sure it’s a success.”
The Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup tournament will take place in the Derry, Strabane and Limavady and surrounding areas from July 18th to 23rd with a record 310 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.
Chairman of the organising committee, Mr. Hutton, has been impressed at the growing numbers of teams taking part, particularly the participants from local Irish League and League of Ireland clubs.
“I look forward to this competition every year, but particularly this year.
“It’s interesting to note that in a time of recession our numbers increase every year. We had 278 teams,
an increase from 230 in 2014 and this year we have 310.
“The Foyle Cup cannot happen just on account of the willingness of local people.
“We need sponsorship and I would like to thank all our sponsors: Hughes Insurance; Derry City and Strabane District Council; Causeway Coast &a Glens Borough Council, Department For Communities, Office of First & Deputy First Minister, Tourism NI, Seagate; Brunswick Superbowl; Inner City Trust and Derry Credit Union.”