Brighton and Republic of Ireland International Shane Duffy, was the Guest Of Honour at the 28th Anniversary Press Launch of the International O'Neills Foyle Cup held in the Waterfoot Hotel last night.
Shane, a former player of Foyle Harps FC ( Derry & District Youth FA) and someone who
played in the Foyle Cup competition from age 12 up until 16 before signing pro terms with
Everton FC 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," said Shane ."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. No matter where you travel in football, when you say you come from Derry, people immediately mention the Foyle Cup event, it is so well known and highly respected throughout Ireland, Britain and Europe. “
Shane continued, "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.
Kieran Kennedy, O’Neills Managing Director commented: “We are hugely excited to be
partnering with the O’Neills Foyle Cup – a world renowned tournament now in its 28 th and
biggest year. With the tournament weeks away, the anticipation in the local area and within the teams is palpable and reaching fever pitch. For many aspiring players, this Festival of Football is the gateway to achieving their dream and following in the footsteps of many others to play professional football. As a local company, it is fantastic to support this home-grown tournament that attracts teams the world over. It embodies our ongoing commitment to encouraging local sport. We wish Michael and his team the very best of luck and look forward to the tournament kicking off on Monday 16th July.”
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 ONeills 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."
Mr Hutton continued, "The Foyle Cup continues to deliver - not only are we supplying players for Derry City FC and Institute FC- and quite a few to Coleraine FC and Larne FC - but there are so many local lads playing cross Channel football including: Darron Gibson, James Mc Clean, Daniel Lafferty; Seamus Coleman. Eunan O Kane, Shay Given, Sean Mullan, Shane Ferguson, Michael Kennedy and Michael Martin – all of whom played their football in the Derry & District Youth League, in the ONeills Foyle Cup.
We are delighted with year’s entry - whatever we are doing, we are doing right when you
consider that Ireland is a very small city in terms of the size of countries in the globe, and Derry but a full stop and yet this year we have no fewer than 18 teams from America joining us to compete against Hibernian, Hearts, Partick Thistle, Hamilton Academicals, Sheffield Utd (2) as well as entrants from Finland, France, Finland and Africa.
The Chairman concluded his address by extending his sincere thanks to the Foyle Cup
sponsors. "The Foyle Cup each year stages an international youth soccer event of high
standing. This cannot happen without the support of sponsors and I would like to thank all our sponsors - Tourism N.I. The Executive Office, Dept. For Communities, Derry & Strabane District Council, Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council, ONeills, Seagate, Brunswick Moviebowl, Derry Credit Union and Inner City Trust. Apart from what this event does for our kids it does even more for our business community - in excess of £2,000.000 spending in the local economy.”
For more details of the event visit www.foylecup.com or contact 02871359734.