IN EXCESS of 60,000 spectators have enjoyed this year’s Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup which came to an exciting conclusion at Saturday’s Finals Day, played out before a packed Brandywell Stadium.
Fun, families and football were the order of the day as fans, young and old, were treated to victories for SPL side Hearts at Under 12 and 14 levels as well as home favourites Derry & District Youth F.A. in the Under 16s with a number of other local sides excelling in the various competitions.
For tournament chairman, Michael Hutton, this year’s event was, without doubt, the best ever.
“How do you judge success?” explained Mr. Hutton, “Is it judged on the number of entries? We had that with 164 teams competing. Is it judged on the quality of entry or how far teams travel? We had a high quality of entry and teams travelling from as far away as Canada and America. Is success gauged on the number of spectators? Well, if so, then this has been our biggest and best yet.
“No, the success of the tournament has to be is judged on the experience of the teams and visitors to the city and their desire to return in future years and I can assure all concerned that the Foyle Cup 2012 was a huge success, based on the feed back I’ve had. What particularly pleased me was the huge number of families who attended the event.
“Of course, success can also be judged from the point of what the tournament contributes to the economy locally and again the competition measures up well as local retailers reported thousands of young kids shopping and enjoying what Derry City and its surrounding areas has to offer.”
Mr Hutton pointed to the atmosphere created at the opening parade and said this carnival atmosphere had continued throughout the week long competition.
“I always take great pleasure in watching the parade,” added Mr. Hutton, “This parade brings together so many of our youth under the banner of sport - kids from the Shankill, from the Falls, from the Fountain, kids from the Bogside. Kids of all colours, creeds, nationalities happily marching across our Peace Bridge, onto Derry Walls on their way to the Guildhall Square. Northern Ireland needs much more of this experience.”
It was a viewpoint supported by the City’s Mayor Colr. Kevin Campbell who said the Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup has become one of the most important youth football tournaments in Europe.
“Taking part in sport offers many benefits for our young people,” explained Colr. Campbell, “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 does so much to promote what is good about our city and its people. The Derry & District Youth F.A. deserve huge credit for what they have created in our city with the Foyle Cup tournament. Their volunteers certainly deliver for this city and the North West region as a whole.”
Brian McDowell, head of Sales and Marketing at Hughes Insurance, stated after the finals: “The Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup is a tournament Derry can be proud of. Hughes Insurance is incredibly proud to be associated with a prestigious tournament that is clearly one of the premier youth competitions in Europe. Everyone involved with the Foyle Cup – from the organisers to the participating teams should take credit for what has been a truly world class football tournament. As a local man I’m immensely proud to be involved and am already looking forward to the City of Culture Foyle Cup tournament in 2013.”
The Foyle Cup tournament was supported by Derry City Council, Department of Culture Arts and Leisure, Sport N. Ireland, Dept. for Social Development, Limavady Borough Council, Strabane District Council, Hughes Insurance, E&I Engineering, Brunswick Superbowl and Derry Credit Union.