It was another very successful week in the Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup for Donegal teams, in which 310 teams competed from all over the Country, England, Scotland, Finland and the US.
The biggest success story of the week has been the standard of the Donegal Schoolboys County Squads, who reached four finals out of five.
Starting off with the youngest category at U9s, the top Donegal side were Illistrin FC who had a fantastic tournament winning all their group games to qualify for the main cup. They were defeated in the semi-final stage by the eventual winners Ballinamallard Utd but secured third spot by defeating Maiden City FC.
In the plate, Kilmac Academy were also defeated by the winners Trojans FC narrowly but bounced back to secure third in the plate.
Four Donegal sides made the quarter-finals of the Rose Bowl with Swilly Rovers, Letterkenny Rovers and Ballyraine Utd defeating Aileach FC, Clooney and Lagan Harps respectively. In the semi-final stages, Swilly Rovers defeated Carndonagh to set up a derby final against Letterkenny Rovers who defeated neighbours Ballyraine FC . Letterkenny defeated Swilly 2-0 in the final.
Sion Swifts were the victors in the U10 section with Illistrin FC again the top side from Donegal Schoolboys. They topped their group but got defeated in the Quarter final by the runner up Glentoran. Ballyraine FC finished 7th in the plate. Kilmac won the Shield final on penalties and Milford United won the globe defeating Lagan Harps 2-0. Killes FC, Lifford Celtic and Drumkeen Utd were the other participants in the section who battled gamely all week.
At U11 level, we didn’t have any who qualified for the elite cup but the Plate was a different story as we had four qualifiers namely Ballybofey Utd, Kilmac, Lagan Harps and Letterkenny Rovers. The Twin Towns side were the winners defeating Ballymoney in the final. The other three teams finished Kilmac 4th, Lagan 5th and Letterkenny 8th in the plate category.
South Donegal qualified in the fourth tier and defeated Strabane Athletic 1-0 to lift the Shield.
The Ladies were played to a finish on Thursday evening and again the Donegal representatives did well with the County U11s winning the Foyle Cup beating Sion Swifts in the final. Their second string finished in a very good 3rd position as well.
At U13s, Donegal again won the Foyle Cup defeating a strong Inishowen League on penalties. Their second string were defeated narrowly 1-0 by Foyle Belles in the Plate final. In the senior Ladies, Sion Swifts got the better of Derry City to clinch the final. Two Donegal teams contested the Rose Bowl final in which Lagan Harps defeated Bonagee United 5 – 0 but Bonagee objected and put in a protest in which they were then handed a 3-0 victory and the Rose Bowl.
On Friday it was the turn of the U13, U15, U17 and U19s. At U13 level, the Gerry Crossan managed County squad were victors defeating Oxford Utd FC 2-0 with goals from Joel Gorman and Rory Pyper. An excellent all round performance from this squad who were defeated in the All Ireland Inter League a few months ago and now head to the Galway cup in good form.
Another success story with the new manager Steve Coll taking over the Donegal U15s who played Tristar in the Foyle Cup final winning at ease with goals from Gabriel Adukai, Jack O’Donnell, Odhran McGuinness and Jamie Doherty. A great bunch of talented footballers, who were magnificent in their semi-final victory over Norwich City. Finn Harps were the other representatives in this age group and had victory in the Shield final over Oxford Utd FC.
The U17 Foyle Cup was won again by Derry City who had a big contingent from Donegal in their 3-0 victory over Trojans. Drumkeen Utd put up a gallant effort to finish 4th losing 3-0 to the winners. Letterkenny Rovers defeated Loughside FC 4-0 to take home the plate. The U19 section was won by English club Altrincham winning 2-1 against Foyle Harps. Kildrum Tigers were the only Donegal based side who entered and finished 3rd in the Rose Bowl.
Saturday was final day in the Brandywell. First up was the Peter McHugh County squad who were up against the outstanding Glentoran who already had defeated Sheffield United in the quarter finals. A great battling display by the Schoolboys, who eventually conceded with nine minutes left to lose narrowly. In the plate section, both Letterkenny/NW & South Donegal reached the quarter-finals and bot defeated Limavady and Ballmoney to advance. The semi finals were also close affairs with the Inishowen League defeating Letterkenny/NW 2-1 and Cookstown defeating South Donegal 2-0. The two Donegal League sides played out a 3rd/4th playoff in the Plate but ended with South Donegal winning on penalties.
East Donegal won the Rose Bowl by defeating Tristar 2-1 in the final. Finn Harps finished 6th in the shield competition.
At U14 level, The mighty Glasgow Celtic defeated Derry City Colts 1-0 in the Foyle Cup final. The Kevin McHugh squad can count themselves unlucky to qualify for the main tournament as they finished 2nd in their group behind Celtic. They went on to win the Plate with Frankie Campbell scoring to defeat Cliftonville 1-0.
Finn Harps had a successful journey as well finishing 3rd with their only defeat falling to Celtic 4-0. Letterkenny Rovers finished 4th in the Rose Bowlwith Lifford Celtic & Castlefin Celtic finishing 4th in their respective Shield and Vase sections.
The last final of the Foyle Cup was a close affair between the skilful Scottish side Hearts and Pat Ward’s Donegal. Heartache for the Schoolboys who got defeated on penalties against a very good side. Overall a great tournament again by the Foyle Cup committee and well done to all Donegal sides.