2019 O'Neill's Foyle Cup
With over 6,000 participants, 1,534 matches, 34 venues and a stadium load of size fives, the 2019 O'Neill's Foyle Cup kicked off yesterday with the record opening day crowds treated to some superb matches as clubs battled to get off to a positive start.
Focus this morning shifted to the tournament parade which winds its way from Magee College to Guildhall Square before the action kicks in again this afternoon with a plethora or action for the local football fans to select from.
East Donegal Schoolboys went down 4-0 to Scottish Premier Division side Hearts in the opening Under 15 game of the O’Neill's Foyle Cup at a blustery but warm Wilton Park on Monday evening.
Playing with the wind at their backs in the first period, the Scottish side dominated but squandered chances which saw them go in all square at the interval.
Controlling the midfield was the diminutive Macauley Tait and his distribution to both wingers caused problems for the under pressure Donegal defence throughout.
The second period saw Hearts possession pay dividends when Murray Thomas broke through to slot home under the goalkeeper. Minutes later it was 2-0. A break on the left saw a low cross met by striker Mark Deya who calmly converted.
Donegal heads were down after that and further scores from Makenzie Kirk, a neat free kick from 25 yards, and a Collum Hambrack strike from 18 yards saw the Scottish team seal their first victory in this year’s tournament.
Slick ball players all over the park will see this Hearts side go a long way this year.
Phoenix come back to beat Camlough
Played in windy conditions at the city’s Brooke Park, local side Phoenix came from behind to see off a resilient Camlough Rovers from Newry.
Both sides played some attractive football but it was Phoenix who took the lead after 10 minutes when Jack Gallagher met a cross from the right and blasted past a helpless keeper.
Sixteen minutes in, the Newry side equalised when a mazy run down the left wing by Oisin Cunningham saw him drive low past the advancing keeper to level.
Camlough went ahead in the dying minutes of the first half when Ellen McCartney tapped in from a corner. 2-1 Camlough at half time.
The second half saw a stronger Phoenix performance. They levelled from a corner on the left, the ball deceiving the goalkeeper and Owen Irvine slotting home; then went ahead with a scorcher from 18 yards with Owen Irvine finding the top corner.
The dying minutes saw a fourth when Caomhan Millar broke through the centre and shot under goalkeeper Daire Kelly to wrap up the result.
Sion overcome Derry City Girls
Sion Swifts and Derry City were one of the first fixtures in this year’s O’Neills Foyle Cup with a 10am kick off for the under-9 girls at Caw on Monday morning.
And it was Sion who were first off the mark with Emily Robb and Clea Gallagher scoring two early goals.
The young City ladies struggled to stem the flow in the first period as Sion running in another four goals before half-time.
A different City side emerged for the second half and they managed to pull back two goals while keeping a clean sheet. Impressive for the Swifts were Emily Robb, Clea Gallagher and Cara Browne. Derry City’s five years-old Allie Deane is one for the future!
Tristar get easy victory over Rovers
Local side Tristar under 9’s got their Foyle Cup campaign underway in comprehensive fashion against Glen Rovers Colts with a one-sided victory on Monday morning.
The tone was set in the first minute when Noah Noonan calmly slotted home after the keeper spilled a shot from Rylee McKeever.
Things didn’t get any better for Glen Rovers Colts, although they gave a brave and spirited performance, the local side proved too hot to handle.
Tristar’s Jack Beasley put in a complete captain’s performance rallying his team and bagging four goals in the process.
The dynamic front three of Noah Noonan, Rylee McKeever and Kalen Kyle looked dangerous every time they got on the ball and scored a few goals between them.
Frustration for Tristar U12s
Tristar Boys 2007s got their Foyle Cup adventure started with a frustrating 3-2 defeat to Moyola Park.
Tristar began the match on the front foot with great attacking play from Callum Doherty, Malachy Coyle and Aidan Tejada to create the opening goal for Caleb Derges who finished from short range.
Moyola then grabbed an equaliser from a high press and quick reactions before Derges scored his second of the afternoon.
It wasn't to be for the local boys though as an impressive Moyola outfit scored two without reply either side of half-time.
Tristar gave it their all and kept going until the very end with Mark McGeady, Darragh Hegarty, Ben McClenaghan, Callum Doherty and Darragh Cassidy all having efforts saved by an in form Moyola goalkeeper in the final few minutes.
Five star Oxford U13s shine
Oxford started on the front with Jones and Conaghan proving problems with their movement and pace and it was latter who gave Oxford the lead when latching onto a cross-field ball from Devlin.
Oxford kept pressing as another through ball from Devlin found Bonner who rounded the keeper to get on the score sheet.
The young Derry boys had full control and Bonner napped his second when rounding the keeper again.
Foundry were now finding Oxford hard to contain with Bowe and Gallagher holding the midfield and Devlin soon got in on the act when beating several men to fire below the keeper to make it 4-0.
Foundry eventually got a foothold but found the Oxford keeper, McClean, in fine form and his distribution found the impressive Ming whose range of passing was impressive.
Oxford started the second half again on the front foot but Foundry were proving to be tougher to break down and defending very well.
Oxford came close through Ming and Fox, but it was to be Doherty whose blistering pace took him one on one and he dispatched low into the net.
The O'Neill's Foyle Cup is also sponsored by Derry City & Strabane District Counci, Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council, Tourism NI, Executive Office, Department for Communities, Seagate, Brunswick Movie Bowl, Inner City Trust and Derry Credit Union.