Wee Reds sign off in style after a football feast on Foyle
After 670 games and 220 teams scoring an incredible 2703 goals the 2014 Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup has finished in Derry after a week of excellent football, great team performances and some shocks along the way.
Donegal Schoolboys enjoyed a great tournament as they took away the cup at both U12 and U13 levels and were runners-up in the U14 and U16 age groups.
Scottish side Partick Thistle took the U19 section in style by winning every group game and scoring 19 goals on their way to the trophy. Belfast sides were also prominent as Glentoran took the U10 and U14 Foyle Cups home and Cliftonville lifted the U16 title with great flair.
The City, as always, was buzzing with local and international young footballers and hotels and restaurants were packed every night by visitors here to cheer on their teams and be entertained by the daily feast of football.
Belfast U14 boys Glentoran showed just why there were professional scouts at this tournament as they displayed the talent local teams have to offer.
The Glens kept a clean sheet in their tough group, picking up nine points along the way. They then defeated a well-backed Maiden City Aacademy in the semi-final to set up a final date in the Brandywell against competition constants Donegal Schoolboys.
The Schoolboys arguably had a tougher route to the final, seeing off none other than Celtic FC in the semis after a gritty game against the Scottish competition favourites. This lead to a final which involved two teams who fully deserved to be there but something had to give. And it was Glentoran who went that step further to clinch the title by only a single goal on the day.
The U16 tournament was another great spectacle through the week. With tight groups seeing the local sides emerge, the competition intensified as it got to the business end of the tournament.
Cliftonville were impressive in their group but needed penalties to get past Belfast rivals Willowbank FC in the semis. Donegal Schoolboys won their group on goal difference and after a convincing semi-final win against St Oliver Plunkett on Friday evening, Cliftonville awaited in Saturday's final. The Schoolboys were probably slight favourites at the beginning of the game but it soon became obvious that Cliftonville were willing to push their opponents to the limit and were deserved champions with a 2-0 cup final victory in the Brandywell.
Donegal Schoolboys U13s must get a special mention however as they were the stand-out story throughout the entire week.
They turned heads in their group games as they notched up an amazing 17 goals and conceded just one. The U13 Schoolboys put nine past Ballymoney United and a further six past local side Dungiven Celtic.
They then progressed to the next stage and even though the competition got tougher, the goals continued to flow. Donegal knocked in seven against fancied new boys North End United with a dominant display and set up a semi with Coleraine FC.
This tough draw wasn't going to get in their way, however, as the momentum was with them and they didn't ever look like losing as they cruised to a 4-0 victory on the Friday afternoon.
Saturday's final was to be against Sheffield United, who have always performed well at the Foyle Cup.
It seemed that it was destined to be Donegal's year though and even though it wasn't as simple against the well organised English boys, they got their goal and hung on to be crowned Foyle Cup kings.
The finals didn't disappoint and topped off a superb week at the tournament.
The Foyle Cup was a great success yet again and it is a tribute to the organisers, match officials and competing teams from all over that come together to bring such an entertaining event to the Maiden City.