FOYLE CUP 2017: Preparations well under way for Derry’s Festival for Football

The Inishowen Youth League celebrate after winning the Foyle Cup Under-12 Plate final last year.  FC06-M4-06
The Inishowen Youth League celebrate after winning the Foyle Cup Under-12 Plate final last year. FC06-M4-06

It may not Christmas yet but preparations are already well under way for the 2017 Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup which will take place in Derry and North West region from July 17th to 22nd next year.

An open invitation has been extended to all clubs competing in youth football - north or south - to compete in this event but even with no fewer than NINE male competitions and THREE female competitions, clubs are encouraged to get their entries in as early as possible to ensure participation.

The format and structure of the Foyle Cup tournament is one which gives every participant the chance to play as much football as possible as well as experience all that Derry City and Strabane District Council and surrounding area has to offer. Teams compete across a variety of age groups – Under 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 19 with three Ladies/Girls events as well at Under 11, 13 and 14 plus.

Whilst there are many age categories to enter, the Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup, is about more than the football. Camaraderie, friendly rivalry and superb hospitality from the local population will make your visit to the 2017 tournament one to remember. There will undoubtedly be a high standard of entry but with the tournament played in the Olympic spirit, ‘It is not always the winning that is important, it is the taking part.’

For tournament organiser, Derry & District Youth FA Chairman, Michael Hutton, the 2017 tournament will be without doubt the best ever.

“The competition has grown from an eight team, one day competition in 1992 to a six-day festival of football, attracting over 310 teams and is undoubtedly Ireland‘s most sought after competition,” said Mr Hutton.

“How do you judge success? The tournament has to be judged on the experience of the teams and visitors to the city for the week long event and their desire to return in future years, together with the high standard of organisation and playing pitches and I can assure all concerned, that the Foyle Cup 2017 will witness a huge influx of teams which have competed in the event in previous years – Celtic, Norwich, Sheffield Utd, Partick Thistle, Hearts, Everton America.

“Plus there will be a host of new teams competing for the first time – TUS Altenborg (Germany), La Creative Factory (France), Sunderland FC, FC Dallas, Tampa Bay, Hamilton Academicals .

“I always take great pleasure in watching the parade through our city centre each year. This parade brings together so many of our youth under the banner of sport – kids from the Shankill, kids from the Falls, kids from the Fountain, kids from the Bogside - kids of all colours, creeds, nationalities, all parade together under the banner of sport, happily marching through our city to Guildhall Square, to be welcomed to the city by our Mayor. “Northern Ireland needs much more of this experience. Youth sport especially, can do so much to heal the division in N. Ireland and bring our people, irrespective of religion, age, race or colour, together to enjoy what is good about our youth.”

“This viewpoint is also supported by all sponsors, who in recognising that the Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup has become one of the most important youth football tournaments in Europe, believe that taking part in sport offers many benefits for our young people.

“Football brings people together as players, supporters and officials. Meeting other players offers our young people opportunities to learn about other cultures and to share what is best about Northern Ireland. The Foyle Cup, a family orientated community festival of football, does so much to promote what is good about our city and district and its people. We are delighted with the numbers of visitors the event attracts and this city and N.Ireland in general, needs more of what the Foyle Cup has to offer.”

The Foyle Cup tournament is supported annually by Derry City and Strabane District Council, Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, The Executive Office, Dept for Communities, Tourism NI, Inner City Trust, Seagate, Brunswick Movie Bowl and Legea.

For more details about the event or to download an entry form visit the website at www.foylecup.com or e mail michael-hutton@lineone.net