FOOTBALL: Derry City legend to launch Foyle Cup

West Brom Albion's James McClean will launch this year's Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup.
West Brom Albion's James McClean will launch this year's Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup.

West Bromwich Albion and Republic of Ireland International James McClean, will be Guest Of Honour at this year’s launch of the International Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup, at the Waterfoot Hotel, this Monday evening.

McClean 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 and his subsequent transfer to English Premier League side Sunderland.

He recently received his 50th International cap for the Republic of Ireland, becoming the first Derry man to captain the side, 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, Shea Given, Daniel Lafferty, Shane Ferguson, Eunan O'Kane, Shane Duffy and 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.

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 League of Ireland |eague's.

"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.”