As always, the Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup hasn’t disappointed.
More than 300 teams have this week competed in the biggest ever event in the tournament’s history and, although the likes of Celtic, Hearts, Norwich City and Patrick Thistle have all strutted their stuff, it has been the local teams who have had the best moments in the competition ahead of this weekend’s finals.
Today and this evening there are a host of finals taking place. First up is the U9 and U11 encounters at Northland Road and Bishop’s Field respectively and both games start at 10.45am, while the U10 final, which takes place at Leafair, gets underway at 12noon.
This evening, the U15, U17 and U19 blue ribbon finals all kick-off at 7pm at Wilton Park, Institute’s Riverside Stadium and McCourt’s Ardmore.
Tomorrow, at the Brandywell, the U14 final will take place at 11.45am, with the U12 encounter at 1pm. The curtain falls on another success tournament with the U16 final beginning at 2.30pm.
As always, the football mad North West came out in their thousands all week to support the hugely popular tournament.
In fact, earlier in the week Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness was a proud spectator as he watched grandson Oisin Hargan help Oxford United Stars to victory over Oliver Plunkett Colts.
Foyle Cup Chairman Michael Hutton is delighted at the way the whole week has gone and says the event, which started out as an eight-team youth tournament in 1991, is worth almost £2m. to the local economy.
“It’s as big, if not bigger, than the jazz festival, the Halloween festival and, indeed, the maritime festival in terms of bed nights created.
“We had about 5,000 young people marching in a parade for the Mayor’s welcome at Guildhall Square on Tuesday.
“It’s great to see the pro clubs from England and Scotland, it’s great to welcome our teams from New York. We have Landsdowne Bhoys here for the first time and Everton America.”
Mr Hutton is also delighted that the ladies game has increased.
“There’s definitely been an increase in girls and ladies football,” she said.