The 2012 Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup came to a conclusion on Saturday when a packed Brandywell Stadium witnessed a spectacle of football which resulted in a double victory for Hearts at 12 and 14 and Derry & District Youth FA, U16, thereby bringing to a conclusion a wonderful spectacle of football and an event that so many people enjoyed.
The crowds attending the event throughout the week were by far the highest ever, totally in excess of 60,000. The buzz in the city all week has been very much a sporting buzz with thousands of young footballers parading through the streets of the city, in and out of cafes, restaurants, hotels and shopping centres.
For tournament organiser, Michael Hutton, the tournament was without doubt the best ever. “ How do you judge success? Is it judged on the number of entries? We had that with 164 teams competing. Is it judged on the quality of entry or how far teams travel? We had a high quality of entry and teams travelling from as far away as Canada and America. Is success gauged on the number of spectators? Well if so, then this has been our biggest and best yet.
Success of the tournament has to be is judged on the experience of the teams and visitors to the city for the week long event and their desire to return in future years and I can assure all concerned that the Foyle Cup 2012 was a huge success, based on the feed back I have had from so many visiting teams and supporters. What particularly pleased me was the huge number of families which attended the event.
Success can also be judged from the point of what it contributes to the locally economy and again the Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup measures up well here as local retailers reported thousands of young kids, in brightly coloured tracksuits, shopping throughout the week in the various retail outlets.
There can be no doubt that Foyle Cup tournament is a real success story and the pity is that there are not more of such events happening each month throughout the year. If we had an event like the Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup happening each month in our city, our local economy would be thriving.
Each year record numbers of visitors attend the event as hotels and B&Bs locally report 100% booking on accommodation. These teams and their supporters pack the hotels and B&Bs not only in Derry City Council area but in all other hotels and B&B accommodation within a twenty mile radius of the city.
Mr Hutton pointed to the atmosphere created at the opening parade and said this carnival atmosphere continued throughout the week, “ I always take great pleasure in watching the parade through our city centre each year. This parade brings together so many of our youth under the banner of sport - kids from the Shankill, kids from the Falls, kids from the Fountain, kids from the Bogside - kids of all colours, creeds, nationalities, all parade together under the banner of sport, happily marching across our Peace Bridge, onto Derry Walls on their way to the Guildhall Square.. N Ireland needs much more of this experience. “
This viewpoint is also supported by the City’s Mayor Kevin Campbell who is recognising that the Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup has become one of the most important youth football tournaments in Europe and the rest of the world commented, “ Taking part in sport offers many benefits for our young people. Football brings people together as players, supporters and officials working to make each match a success. Meeting other players offers our young people opportunities for learning about other cultures and for sharing what is best about Northern Ireland. The Foyle Cup does so much to promote what is good about our city and its people.
The Derry & District Youth F.A. deserve huge credit for what they have created in our city with the Foyle Cup tournament as it has continued to prosper and grow from its inception in 1992. Their volunteers certainly deliver for this city and the North West region as a whole”
Brian McDowell, Head of Sales and Marketing at Hughes Insurance, stated after the Finals: “The Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup is a tournament Derry can be proud of. Hughes Insurance is incredibly proud to be associated with a prestigious tournament that is clearly the premier youth competition in Europe. Everyone involved with the Foyle cup – from the organisers to the participating teams should take credit for what has been a truly world class football tournament. As a local man I am immensely proud to be involved and look forward to a City of Culture Foyle Cup Event in 2013.”
In looking forward to City of Culture 2013 Mr Hutton expressed the hope that sufficient funding would be provided to welcome back to the city, the great teams of Europe which had competed in the event over the years - Paris St Germain, Werder Bremen, Montpellier, IFK Gothenburgh, Sporting Lokeren – to name but a few. The 2013 Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup event will run from July 21st to July 26th.inclusive.
The Foyle Cup tournament is supported by Derry City Council, Department of Culture Arts and Leisure, Sport N. Ireland, Dept for Social Development, Limavady Borough Council, Strabane District Council, Hughes Insurance, E&I Engineering, Brunswick Superbowl and Derry Credit Union