Football fans are gearing up for the much anticipated Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup which kicks-off next Monday.
The event will run from July 21-26 with more than 35 venues across the North West area being used.
The tournament this year has an entry of 220 teams and during the week of the Foyle Cup there will be more matches played in the event than the Premier League in England play in one-and-a-half seasons.
The quality of entry this year is as high as it has ever been and boasts the return of several previous winners – Celtic, Hearts, Norwich City, Sheffield United, Derry City, Dungannon Utd, Ballinamallard, Inishowen YL and Donegal Schools – to name but a few.
Quite a few new clubs will be in attendance with Partick Thistle and Altrincham amongst the new entrants.
Many local club teams are entered in the U10 and 11 Sections of the event where it is hoped fans will get a glimpse of a few potential stars of the future.
There will be many scouts in attendance from English and Scottish clubs looking to discover the next star player as many players have been discovered playing at this event over the past 20 years – the likes of Shay Given, Darron Gibson, Daniel Lafferty, Robbie Keane, Paddy McCourt, Stephen Ireland, John O’Shea, Kevin Kilbane.
In the past two years players so many local players have been signed by cross-channel clubs.
Tournament Chairman Michael Hutton reinforces this point: “For an English League club to sign a local player and develop him further, could in effect save the club millions of pounds. They are very much on the look out for the next Roy Keane, John O’Shea or Robbie Keane. That is why so many scouts flock to this event.
“We have schedules our matches to take place at 3pm, 5pm and 7pm in order that as many people as possible can attend our matches. We appeal to the public locally to come out in large numbers and support the challenges facing our local teams as they try to match the efforts of Derry Colts, winners at under 17 and 19 last year.”
Mr Hutton also acknowledged all those who are contributing to ensure the event will be as successful as it was in previous years: Derry City Council, Department for Social Development, Department of Culture & Leisure, Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Limavady Borough Council, Strabane District Council, Hughes Insurance, Legea, Seagate, PSNI Foyle Branch, Brunswick Superbowl, Airporter, Derry City FC, City Hotel, Da Vinci Hotel, Inner City Trust, Derry Credit Union.