The organisers of the Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup 2014 have been congratulated after the tournament gets off to a successful start.
Sinn Fein and the SDLP have led tributes to the organisers, chairman Michael Hutton and Derry and District Youth Football Association, who stage the event each year with support from Derry City Council.
Thousands turned out on Tuesday morning to watch the young footballers from Ireland, Britain and beyond mark the official start of the event in the Foyle Cup parade.
SDLP Foyle MLA Colum Eastwood paid tribute to the “hard work of everyone behind the tremendous success of the Foyle Cup”.
He added: “Huge congratulations are due to all of those who have helped make the Foyle Cup the international success story it has undoubtedly become.
“The people of this city and its natural hinterland of North Donegal, Limavady, Dungiven and Strabane owe these hard working organisers a debt of gratitude for the economic and social boost the Foyle Cup has generated.
“The competition has had an enormous benefit on the development of grass roots football and Irish football in general. Players of the ilk of Robbie Keane, Stephen Ireland, John O’Shea and Kevin Kilbane as well as local talent such as Darron Gibson, Shay Given, James McClean, Daniel Lafferty, Paddy McCourt and Seamus Coleman all blossomed into household names after playing in the competition which always attracts a huge number of scouts searching for the next big star.”
Derry City Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly meanwhile wished the organisers of the Foyle Cup and the participants all the best as the 2014 competition begins.
Colr Kelly said: “The Foyle Cup is a great competition and is also a great showcase for Derry.
“I would like to wish the organisers and participants involved in this year’s event all the best as they get ready for the week long programme, and encourage the people of the city to give it as much support as possible.”
Speaking about the successful launch, Colr. Kelly added:
“The opening parade is always a colourful spectacle and sends out a great positive image for our city and in particular our young people.”