Belfast Telegraph

Kilbane's draw gets the ball rolling for Foyle Cup

By Stuart McKinley

Former Everton and Republic of Ireland star Kevin Kilbane has set the ball rolling for this year's Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup.

Kilbane, who now works as a pundit on Match of the Day and Five Live, made the draw for the tournament, kicking off the excitement in the build-up to its start in just over six weeks.

The top teams from across Ireland will be joined in the north west by representatives from Scottish Premiership champions Celtic, as well as others from Scotland in the shape of Hearts, Motherwell and Partick Thistle in what is a record entry for the Foyle Cup.

FD Suomi from Finland and Everton America, who are officials partners of the Merseyside club, are among those who will provide an international flavour to proceedings.

Newly promoted English Premier League club Norwich City are also represented.

The age range in this year's tournament goes from eight to 18 and there are also separate competitions for girls' teams.

"The event continues to go from strength to strength," said tournament chairman Michael Hutton.

"Such is the appeal of the event that the numbers of teams entering the competition has more than doubled in the last four years - we had 132 teams in 2011 and we will welcome a record entry of 278 teams for this year.

"It's hard to believe that this event, which had its humble beginnings in 1992 when we organised an eight-team, one-day tournament , will host a six-day festival of football in 2015 with such a high quality standard of entrants.

"The interest in the event has been immense and this year, despite the huge growth in terms of entries, we have still had to refuse entry to more than 25 teams.

"Local hotels and B&Bs are full to capacity and teams are having to travel significant distances outside the city to secure accommodation."

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