Everton and Republic of Ireland star, Darron Gibson will officially launch the 2013 Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup at the Tower Hotel this Thursday.
Invitations to attend this year’s launch have also been extended to James McClean (Sunderland), Paddy McCourt (Celtic), Shane Ferguson (Newcastle), Shane Duffy (Everton) and other former Derry & District Youth FA representatives.
The Foyle Cup tournament will run from July 22nd to July 27th and will witness its highest ever entry of 216 teams.
Commenting on the huge increase of entries, Foyle Cup Chairman, Michael Hutton said the continued growth of the tournament has been a ‘true success story’.
“To think that in 2011 we had 132 teams in the competition; 2012 witnessed an entry of 164 teams and this year we will have our biggest ever entry of 216 teams,” he said.
“The growth of the Foyle Cup is a true success story for all of us here in the city.
“Indeed such has been the success of the event, that this year will witness games played all across the North West - Limavady, Strabane, Dungiven, Magherason, Ardmore, Greysteel, Killea, Buncrana, Moville, Cockhill, Greencastle, St Johnstone.
“It has been amazing to note the ever growing interest in this event which began as a one day eight team tournament in 1992 and now has developed into a truly wonderful international festival of football.”
And Mr Hutton was delighted to confirm Everton midfielder, Gibson as the Guest of Honour for Thursday’s launch.
“We in the Derry & District Youth FA are delighted that our event has been a means into professional football for so many of our local players. “And we welcome back to the city one of the many players developed by the Association, Darron Gibson, who has gone on to experience great success with Manchester United and Everton.
“We have, in this our City of Culture year, extended invitations to all former Derry & District Youth FA players, presently playing cross Channel football with professional clubs to attend this year’s launch.
“There can be no doubt about the respect that The Foyle Cup has gained over the years. Our economy has been in a deep recession for the past three or four years and yet the tournament continues to grow and prosper.”
Mr. Hutton also acknowledged the support afforded the event by Derry City Council, The Culture Company, Department for Social Development, Department of Culture & Leisure, N. Ireland Tourist Board, Limavady Borough Council, Strabane District Council, Hughes Insurance, Seagate, E&I Engineering, PSNI Foyle Branch, Brunswick Superbowl and Derry Credit Union.