Roe Valley U9s are celebrating after winning at the prestigious tournament. Their manager describes them as ‘outstanding’.

Roe Valley U9 squad members Eoin, Jamie, Joel, Dara and Ben pictured with the Foyle Cup. INLV3215-065KDR
Roe Valley U9 squad members Eoin, Jamie, Joel, Dara and Ben pictured with the Foyle Cup. INLV3215-065KDR
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Footballers at Roe Valley FC have made history at the recent Foyle Cup.

Not only is it the first time the long running tournament has had an U9 section, but it’s also the first time a team from Limavady has won at the prestigious tournament, which draws talent from all around the world.

Manager John Mailey said it was the first time the team entered because they were eligible.

“It’s historic and, as far as I’m aware, it’s the first time a team from Limavady has won in the Foyle Cup,” said John.

The squad played five games in the group stages, winning four and drawing one.

The team notched up an impressive tally of goals scoring 24 goals.

In the final they beat Oxford Stars 3-0 to lift their first Foyle Cup.

“The boys are outstanding for their age,” said John, who credited the team’s entire management including co-manager Ryan McGonigle, and Nathan Armstrong.

“The team has played teams throughout Northern Ireland and, of all teams they have played, really good teams, I wouldn’t change any of our team.

“We have the perfect squad and we really are blessed with this crowd of boys. On the Wednesday, before their match, they really blew me away when I reached the pitch they had already started doing their warm-ups. I couldn’t believe it.”

In the past year, the team has enjoyed success at several tournaments including the Larne Tournament, the Colin Valley trophy in Belfast and, most recently, the Foyle Cup. Of the dozens of games they played, they suffered just three defeats.

“To these boys every win is just another game of football. They really take it in their stride and there are no egos among them. You’ll never hear them sing ‘we are the champions’, or anything like that. They’re happy, but they just move on to the next training session or the next game.”

John hailed the lads as “ambassadors for the Roe Valley”, and said great praise must go to the families of players.

“We’ll take a break now and be back in September and the parents, their grannies and uncles will all be there. There is a great team spirit.”

As for the future, John said the emphasis is about the boys enjoying the football.

When asked what’s his feeling about any future stars in the squad, John said: “To be honest, deep down, I think that maybe a couple of them could make the grade, but that’s a while off yet. We’ll see.”