West Bromwich Albion and Republic of Ireland International James Mc Clean, will be Guest Of Honour at this year’s Launch of the International Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup at the Waterfoot Hotel next Monday 12th June
James is a former player of Derry & District Youth FA Trojans FC and played in the Foyle Cup competition from age 12 up until 19 before signing pro terms with Derry City FC and his subsequent transfer to English Premier League team Sunderland.
He recently received his 50th International cap for the Republic of Ireland, becoming the first Derry man to captain the team, before scoring a sensational goal in his 51st international against Uruguay.
“It’s a massive honour for me to be asked to launch this tournament,” said James. .”Obviously I’ve played in the competition and coming from Derry it gave me the opportunities that got me to where I am today. This event has grown so much in stature and importance and it is great that Irish kids have a platform such as the Foyle Cup to display their undoubted skills. It has been a means to professional football for so many local kids. “
The tournament has certainly proved to be a major platform for Irish footballers to gain professional contracts over the 26 years of its existence. Former players discovered at the event include Seamus Coleman, Robbie Keane, Stephen Ireland, John O’Shea. Gibson, Shea Given, Daniel Lafferty, Shane Ferguson, Eunan O Kane, Shane Duffy, Darron Gibson, to name but a few.
This year’s Hughes insurance Foyle Cup will boast its biggest entry of more than 340 teams competing in the 6 day festival of football with matches taking place across Derry, Strabane, Limavady and Donegal and will be held 17th – 22nd July this year.
Considering that the Foyle Cup began as an eight-team, one-day event in 1992, it is a significant achievement that it has now grown into one of Ireland’s biggest and best youth football tournaments.
Chairman of the organising committee, Mr. Michael Hutton, has been impressed at the growing numbers of teams taking part, particularly the participants from local Irish League and Airtricity Leagues.
“I look forward to this competition every year, but particularly this year. It’s interesting to note that in a time of recession our numbers continue to rise annually. In our City of Culture year 2013 we had the 164 teams and we thought that with those numbers we had indeed peaked – this year we have an entry of 345 teams. I have no doubt that as we celebrate our 25th anniversary, this year’s event will be our finest yet with entries travelling from USA (8), France, Germany, Finland, Scotland, England, Ireland North and South . ”
The Chairman commented, “The Foyle Cup cannot happen just on account of the willingness of local people. We need sponsorship and in thanking all our sponsors – Tourism N.I. The Executive Office, Dept. For Communities, Derry & Strabane District Council, Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council, Hughes Insurance, Seagate, Brunswick Moviebowl , Derry Credit Union and Inner City Trust – I would call on our own Council to increase the level of funding afforded the event which has remained the same for the past 11 years despite a growth in the number of entrants when we had an entry of 96 teams in 2007 to this year’s peak entry of 345 teams. The event is ranked by one and all in retail sector and hotel and tourism as probably the city’s biggest annual event and we believe Council funding should reflect this fact.