Former Republic of Ireland goalkeeper and current Aston Villa coach, Shay Given will be in Derry later this month to officially launch the 2014 Foyle Cup tournament.
The Lifford man, will be special guest of honour at the Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup launch at the City Hotel on Monday, May 26th ahead of the summer tournament which kicks-off on July 21st next.
Tournament Chairman, Michael Hutton was delighted Given - a former Derry & District Youth League representative - agreed to help launch the event.
“On the field of play at league or international level, there can be no better role model for young players than Shay Given,” said Mr Hutton.
“What he has achieved in his playing career is truly outstanding, evidenced by the level of competition at which he has competed both for club and country.
“We have a tradition of inviting former players to be our Guest of Honour and it is pleasing to note than Shay played in the Derry & District Youth League in his development years. We are delighted that he will honour us with his presence this year.”
Given, Ireland’s second highest capped international player with 125 caps, has indeed, enjoyed a long and distinguished career having been signed by Celtic, Blackburn, Newcastle United, Manchester City and Aston Villa where he played in the UEFA Champions League, Europa League, Inter Toto Cup as well as representing his country at FIFA World Cup Competition and UEFA Euro Championships.
This year’s Foyle Cup event will run from July 21st to July 26th and will witness its highest ever entry of more than 230 teams across 11 age groups.
Mr Hutton was delighted with the increase in entrants this year; “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 which has grown from 132 teams in 2011 to over 230 teams in 2014, that this year we shall see games played all across the North West - Derry, Limavady, Strabane, Dungiven, Killea, Greysteel, 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 festival of football.
“In this city over the past 12 months we have witnessed many wonderful and successful events and the Foyle Cup ranks right up there with them all.
“We have delivered not just during the City of Culture year but every year since 1992, and we attract increasingly large numbers of visitors to our city who occupy huge numbers of bed-nights, creating immense spending in the local economy throughout the week of the event – even though we do not always gain the plaudits we deserve when successful events are discussed in the media by those involved in promoting tourism locally.
“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 acknowledged the support afforded the event by Derry City Council, Department for Social Development, Department of Culture & Leisure, Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Limavady Borough Council, Strabane District Council, Hughes Insurance, Legea, Seagate, E& I Engineering, PSNI Foyle Branch, Brunswick Superbowl and Derry Credit Union.