Foyle Cup 2016 gets off to a flyer in the north-west

St Oliver Plunkett juniors from Belfast in action against Tristar of Derry during their Foyle Cup U11 match at Greysteel on Monday
Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Seamus Crudden

DESPITE a severe weather warning, spirits will be high during the traditional Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup parade through Derry on Tuesday morning.  

The hugely impressive football festival, which got underway on Tuesday, is expected to showcase the talents of young players from across Ireland. Over 250 teams are taking part in this week’s competition, which will be staged throughout the North West and has 1,200 games scheduled ending in Saturday’s showcase finals day at the Brandywell.  

This event has gone for strength to strength and now ranks as possibly Ireland’s finest youth soccer tournament, having established a quality reputation for the standard of its playing surfaces, quality of team entry and level of organisation. There has been great excitement in anticipation of the event, particularly amongst kids in the younger age groups who are excitedly looking forward to competing with the best that British clubs can offer – clubs such as Celtic, Sheffield United, Partick Thistle, Norwich City and FD Suomi from Finland.  

Returning this year from the US are Everton America and Lansdown Boys from New York will be making their debut at the competition. Glentoran, who won last year’s U12 category, declared their early intentions with a convincing 7-0 victory over local Derry side Ballymoor. In the U19 section, Altrincham FC had an impressive 4-0 win over Irish League Championship side Institute. The Manchester men had the game, which was played in glorious sunshine, over by half-time as they raced into an unassailable 4-0 lead thanks to a hat-trick from Declan Lewis and one from Declan McGloin, this all-coming after Altrincham goalkeeper Chris Evans had saved a penalty.  

As for Stute’s near neighbours Derry City, the U19s had an impressive 5-0 win over Irish League Premiership boys Ballinamallard United U19. Ronan Wilson, Ben Doherty, Rory Holden, Stephen Duffy and Stephen Mills were all on the scoresheet. Foyle Harps shocked Scottish side Patrick Thistle when they secured a 1-0 victory, while Roe Rovers drew 1-1 with Kildrum.  

In the U17 section Derry City had a narrow 4-3 win over Willowbank. Trojans defeated Drumkeen United 4-1, Stute defeated Carniny Youth 3-2 and Donegal Celtic also picked up three points in their opening game beating Newbuildings 2-1. English Championship side Norwich City had a hard fought 1-0 success over Donegal outfit Finn Harps in their opening U15 game, while Oliver Plunkett defeated Don Boscos in the same group.  

In Group B, Foyle Harps easily seen off Carniny Youth 4-0 and Bertie Peacock Youth beat Inishowen Youth League 1-0. Other eye-catching results in the U15 sections was Ardstraw’s 4-3 win over Institute and Newry City’s 3-0 success over Oliver Plunkett Colts.

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