THOUSANDS OF young footballers, coaches and spectators from across the world will converge on Guildhall Square today as the 19th Foyle Cup officially gets underway with the traditional opening parade through the city.
Despite the ongoing financial difficulties and struggle to attract sponsors, this year’s tournament, sponsored by McDaid’s Football Special, promises to be as good as ever with 132 teams expected to take part.
The first matches of this year’s competition got underway yesterday with several under-19 games and the main action in the remaining age groups kicks-off today following the Opening Parade which starts at 11a.m. from the University of Ulster at Magee to Guildhall Square where the Mayor, Alderman Maurice Devenney, will welcome all the teams and formally open the competition.
The organisers are delighted that they have still managed to maintain the number of competition entries which will see 372 matches played in five days. That’s equivalent to an entire Premier League season which has some 380 games and takes nine months to complete!
The McDaid’s Football Special Foyle Cup tournament will take place in the Derry City & surrounding areas, in Counties Derry, Tyrone & Donegal.
The competition has football teams from America, mainland Europe as well as all over Britain and Ireland in age groups from Under-10 up to Under-19.
As well as the huge Irish entry, the Foyle Cup has attracted teams from all over the world. Returning from America to compete at U16 level is Everton, America FC. Last year debutantes from Barcelona, Fundacion Marcet also return to Foyleside this to compete in several age groups.
Returning U14 holders, Celtic, return along with Aberdeen and Hearts making up the Scottish contingent. Also returning to this year’s competition are Queens Park Rangers from London, newly promoted to Premier League, line out at Under-16. Fellow English side, from the Championship, Hull City return, this time in the Under-16s.
This year, as ever, boasts a strong Irish entry with teams from Derry City FC, Institute FC, Coleraine FC, Linfield FC, Finn Harps FC, Dungannon Utd FC, Ballymoney United FC, Ballyclare Comrades, Loughgall FC, Armagh City, Newry City, Limavady Utd FC, and Ballinamallard FC.
The Foyle Cup tournament starts Monday evening 18th July and runs until Saturday 23rd July with the main finals played in Brandywell, home of Derry City FC.