KENNY SHIELS is hoping Derry City Football Club can unearth a ‘champion’ in the same mould as his late skipper, Ryan McBride through the ‘All Inclu5ive Cup’ set up in his memory.
The inaugural Ryan McBride All-Inclu5ive Cup takes place at Brandywell Stadium tomorrow morning - the fifth day of the fifth month in honour of the much loved defender who wore the No. 5 with such pride before his sudden passing on March 2017, aged 27.
Shiels has been instrumental in organising the tournament and he’s delighted to be a part of the fantastic event which he hopes will help maintain his former skipper’s legacy.
Eight youth groups (2003 and younger) from across the city will compete in the hope of getting their hands on the trophy, while the finalists get the opportunity to play during half-time in next Friday night’s top of the table clash between Derry City and champions, Cork City at Brandywell.
It’s an excellent incentive for the youngsters and Shiels is hoping tomorrow’s tournament is well supported by the city.
“Ryan went out there and worked hard, played hard and everything he had about him I want to epitomise the tournament,” said Shiels.
“We want competitiveness where young boys fight for their team and work hard and try to win their games and look to be the winners.
“We have to create winners and champions,” he continued. “Ryan was one and we’d like to try and unearth another one. And wouldn’t it be great to do that through this fantastic tournament.”
Youth clubs from Shantallow, Ballymagroarty, Newbuildings, the Fountain, Top of the Hill, Longtower, Bishop’s Street and Youth First from the Bogside are all involved in the tournament, both boys and girls.
Matches will last seven minutes each and will be played on a round-robin basis with the top four going into a knockout phase for the Cup while the remainder will compete in a Plate shoot-out.
Teams will be allowed panels of 10 players each but only seven can play at any one time.
And the Derry City manager is delighted that all the groups consulted have agreed to participate.
“It’s about trying to get cross community reaction,” he explained.
“We need to make sure people come here and enjoy themselves and have a good day out. It’s about keeping Ryan’s name alive and it’s important it’s well supported and it has been well supported. It’s the club’s baby so to speak.
“This will be our first year and we are hoping to build on it each year and make it, bigger and bigger and we might even expand it in years to come.
“The finalists of the tournament will play at half-time in the Cork game next Friday night. The final will be played on Saturday but they will get the privilege to play in front of a full house at half-time and that would be brilliant for them.
“This is the first of what we want to be many successful years of protecting Ryan’s memory both for his family and for ourselves.
“We want you to enjoy the occasion and everyone who takes part will receive a ticket to come to our big game against Cork the following Friday night.”
The Derry boss has also promised that his players will be helping out on the day with each team being allocated one player to help them throughout. Doors open at Brandywell tomorrow from 10.30 a.m. with the action getting underway at 11 a.m.