Record-breaking O’Neills Foyle Cup continues to deliver

The O’Neills Foyle Cup made a hugely successful return this year, bringing much joy to the Northwest as the tournament celebrated a record number of team entries and participants, and the highest number of bed nights created to date.

As the final whistle blew in the Under 16 final in the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium, signalling a well-deserved victory for Institute FC, it also marked the end of what has been an exciting and enjoyable festival of youth football.

Throughout the course of the week, 455 teams participated in more than 1700 matches, with 8500 players, 1300 coaches and 200,000 spectators attending the tournament as fixtures were held across 38 different venues including Derry, Strabane, Greysteel, Sion Mills, Limavady, Coleraine, Dungiven and Donegal.

Philip Devlin, PR officer for the Foyle Cup, commented: “The crowds attending the tournament witnessed not only the excitement of the players but also a high quality of football throughout the whole week – whether it was the Under 8s in the Brandywell Stadium or the Under 19s who played at venues across the Northwest. In fact, the Under 9 final at the Templemore Sports Complex had a crowd of 900 spectators in attendance to witness a super contest between Ballinamallard FC and Foyle Harps FC.

“These attendances were mirrored at all venues from Monday through to Saturday. I don’t know if it was the excitement of witnessing the event return after a two-year absence or whether people see it as a ‘return to normal life’, but the crowds attending the tournament were exceptionally high so a huge thank you to everyone who came out to support the players.”

For all the participants, coaches, family and friends attending the Foyle Cup, there was also the opportunity to visit Quayside and experience, along with thousands of other visitors, the wonderful atmosphere of the Foyle Maritime Festival, organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council and highlighted by the Clipper racing yachts.

With such a high volume of team entries, the Foyle Cup ensured hotels, B&Bs, hostels and guest houses across the region were filled. In addition, there were 500 visitors staying in the Magee Student Village, 200 staying in Ulster University student accommodation in Coleraine and another 250 participants staying in student accommodation in Letterkenny.

With approximately 14,500 occupancies created over the course of the week and to the delight of hoteliers, the Foyle Cup accounts for more bed nights than any other local event organised during the year, highlighting the important work of the volunteers within the Derry & District Youth FA who make this event happen and deliver it so successfully.

This view is supported by the staff at Brunswick Moviebowl, as well as local taxi drivers, transport companies, retail stores, supermarkets, restaurants, cafés and all other businesses who reap the benefits of the Foyle Cup being in town. In fact, a number of teams have already pre-booked their accommodation for the 30th anniversary celebration of the tournament in 2023.

The local economic impact of the Foyle Cup is estimated to be in excess of £3 million, not including the purchasing of new kits and equipment by teams prior to the event or the buses and minibuses that are hired.
Mr Devlin added: “The Foyle Cup emits a positive image for the region and its people – something no one can put a value on. Teams departing the city have also spoken extremely positively of their experiences here. Our hope for next year is to secure additional funding to further enhance the tournament experience for all involved.”

As the tournament drew to a close at the Ryan Mc Bride Brandywell Stadium on Saturday, Foyle Cup committee member Shaun Taylor said: “On behalf of the committee, a massive thank you goes to all the sponsors, partners, grounds maintenance staff and those communities who permitted the use of their facilities to stage the 1700 matches, plus the Northwest Referee Association under the leadership of Dick Tucker, Ken Lowry and Gerry Morrison. A special mention also goes to Ryan Deighan and Keith Thompson of Derry City and Strabane District Council, not just for their support this week but for all the planning that goes into this event months before it kicks off.”

The Foyle Cup Is backed by several key sponsors and partners, including title sponsor O’Neills, Derry City & Strabane District Council, Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council, Department for Communities, Brunswick Moviebowl, Derry Credit Union, Ulster University, Inner City Trust, Axa Insurance, Seagate and Tourism NI.

Next year’s Foyle Cup will take place from 17th-22nd July 2023. For all results visit


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