Late Cliftonville withdrawal shocks Foyle Cup Chairman

Foyle Cup Chairman Michael Hutton claims he is “shocked and disappointed” with Irish League champions Cliftonville who have withdrawn from next week’s Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup Under-19 competition only six days before the tournament starts.

The Belfast club said concerns at being able to get a squad together for the competition was the primary reason for the withdrawal but Mr. Hutton said he hoped that another Irish League team will now take up the position.

“To be told at this late stage, six days before the event, that Irish League Champions Cliftonville, will not be competing in this year’s event, is very disappointing indeed,” said the Foyle Cup Committee Chairman.

“The reason given for the team’s withdrawal I have been told, is that they are struggling to get a squad together. I find this amazing as I would have thought that the development of under 19 age players, ready to step into the Senior team, would be a vital lifeline to the club. I do sincerely hope that another team will see the benefit of this tournament in terms of pre-season development and get in touch with us to fill this position.”

Teams already entered in the tournament at Under 19 level include Derry City FC, Ballymena Utd FC, Institute FC, Finn Harps FC, Fanad United FC, Letterkenny Rovers FC, Mountjoy Utd FC, Altrincham FC and Partick Thistle FC.

Any club interested should ring Michael Hutton on 02871359734.

Tournament opens

on Monday

The competition is set to kick off on Monday and will run through to Saturday with more than 35 venues hosting games across the North West area.

The tournament this year has an entry of 220 teams and during the week of the Foyle Cup there will be more matches played in the event than the Premier League in England play in one and a half seasons!

In fact 768 games in total are scheduled. Another exciting development is the launch of Smartphone Apps to help managers, parents and spectators stay up to date with ongoings throughout the week. Developed by Torneopal in Finland, the app is now available in the App store for all Android phones and tablets, with the Apple version expected on Wednesday.

Not only has it fixtures and results - it even has maps and directions to all grounds - invaluable for everyone next week.

The quality of entry this year is as high as it has ever been and boasts the return of several previous winners – Celtic FC, Hearts FC, Norwich City FC, Sheffield United, Derry City FC, Dungannon Utd , Ballinamallard, Inishowen YL and Donegal Schools - to name but a few. Quite a few new clubs will be in attendance with Partick Thistle and Altrincham amongst the new entrants.

Keep up to date with fixtures, results and picture coverage on all next week!