Darron Gibson was the man every young boy wanted to be photographed with after the 2013 Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup was launched in the Tower Hotel in Derry on Thursday evening.
The event hadn’t even begun when happy mothers armed with cameras ushered their sons towards the Everton and Republic of Ireland star to ask him for a photograph.
“It’s great to see one of our own sons here tonight to launch the 2013 Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup,” said Foyle Cup chairman, Michael Hutton.
The Foyle Cup started in 1992 with only eight teams and ran over one day. This year the tournament will host 216 teams from all over the world and the event will take place between July 22 to 27.
“The young people you see here today are the future of not just local football but they are the future of this great city.
“I am delighted to say that this year will be the biggest Foyle Cup since we started in 1992 - that’s made extra special when you consider it’s also Derry’s year as City of Culture.”
Derry City F.C. chairman, Mr. Philip O’Doherty was one of the guest speakers at the event and praised Michael Hutton and his team for their work and said it was no coincidence that some of Derry City’s most talented players played in the competition.
“James McClean, David McDaid, Paddy McCourt and Daniel Lafferty all played in the Foyle Cup. It’s such a great youth tournament and I am delighted that Derry City F.C. are able to be part of it.
“Michael Hutton and his team do this every year and every year it gets better and better. They deserve a huge amount of credit.
“I would also appeal to any of the young boys and girls here tonight who will be playing in this year’s competition. If you do grow up to be a professional footballer, stay clear of football agents and come and speak to me first,” he joked.
Brian McDowell, Head of Sales and Marketing at Hughes Insurance, commented: “We are delighted to be title sponsors of the Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup especially as the eyes of the world are firmly focused on this great city throughout 2013. We believe the Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup is the greatest youth football tournament in Europe and the impact it has on those who come to either take part or spectate, is not to be underestimated. The football, hospitality and goodwill on display throughout the city will, as ever, be of the very highest standard and Hughes Insurance is proud to be a part of what promises to be the most successful Foyle Cup yet.”
For full details of the draw see website www.foylecup.com