Foyle Cup a shop window for potential stars of the future

Shelbourne players race from the centre circle after winning the Under-14 plate final on penalties
There will be 220 teams competing at the Foyle Cup in 2014

Scouts from the top Premier League clubs in England will be among the spectators when the Foyle Cup kicks off on Monday.

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Watch some of the best goals from the 2013 Foyle Cup

Darron Gibson, Paddy McCourt and James McClean are among the current stars who were spotted at the annual youth football tournament in the north-west.

There is a record entry for 2014, with 220 sides taking part in games being played in Londonderry, Strabane, Limavady, Dungiven and Donegal.

There are teams from across the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland plus sides from Canada and the United States.

"Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Spurs are among the clubs who will have scouts at the tournament," said Foyle Cup chairman Michael Hutton.

"More clubs are looking at the success of Irish players with Premier League clubs and are determined to find future stars and save millions of pounds on transfer fees."

"The Foyle Cup has been a means into the professional game for so many players, like Robbie Keane, Shay Given, Stephen Ireland, John O'Shea and Kevin Kilbane."

Former Newcastle United and Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Given was the star guest at the launch of this year's Foyle Cup.

"So many of the current Republic of Ireland team have come through the Foyle Cup," said the man who won a record 125 Irish caps.

Glentoran players celebrate their victory in the final of the Under-12 section of the 2013 Foyle Cup
Glentoran players celebrate their victory in the final of the Under-12 section of the 2013 Foyle Cup

"I know the immense importance placed on this event by professional clubs in England and Scotland, as each club ensures their scouts are there.

"It is a high-profile competition, that is obvious from the clubs involved."

Fourteen players signed for English clubs after playing the the 2013 Foyle Cup. They were Mikele and Kelvin Kennedy (Charlton), Micheal Martin (Charlton), Conor Quigley (Liverpool ), Aaron Mc Eniff (Tottenham), Sean Mullan (Sheffield Wednesday), Conor Masterson (Liverpool), Stephen Foster (Swansea), Seanna Lynch (Sheffield Wednesday), Joe Crowe (Norwich City), Ben Kennedy (Stevenage), Cormac Derry, Levi Ives and Josh Lynch (all Torquay).

The tournament began in 1992 as a one-day competition involving eight teams.

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