Galway Cup culminates with elite final on Saturday

The Galway Cup is currently in full swing at Drom Soccer Park where hundreds of budding stars are competing in the annual underage tournament.

Regarded as one of the leading tournaments for youngsters in Europe, the Galway Cup kicked off at the home of Salthill Devon yesterday for the 14th successive season.

Featuring 50 teams competing in five sections - 2003 Premier, 2005 Super Elite, 2005 Elite, 2005 Club, and 2006 Boys - some 120 games will be played over the four days, attracting some of the best youngsters in Europe, and talent scouts.

The focal point is the 2005 Super Elite which will be contested by Shrewsbury Town, Leeds United, Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids, Sligo Leitrim District League and the NDSL.

The tournament culminates with the finals on Saturday, kicking off in the morning with the 2005 Club plate final, and concluding with the Elite Cup final (3.50pm ).

The Galway Cup has featured a number of players who have enjoyed careers, including Greg Cunningham (Cardiff City ), Daryl Horgan (Preston North End ), Conor Masterson (Liverpool ), Joe Shaughnessy (St Johnstone ), Conor Shaughnessy (Leeds United ), Ryan Manning (Queens Park Rangers ) and Grahame Burke (Preston North End ).

Brahim Diaz (Spain ) lit up the Galway Cup with Malaga in 2012 and soon afterwards he moved to Manchester City as a 14-year-old. He has now advanced to the first team squad and featured in last Sunday’s Community Shield against Chelsea at Wembley. Ipswich Town have also had a number of their Galway Cup stars graduate to senior level such as Ben Knight (England U16 who has recently moved to Manchester City for £1m ) and Conor Wickham (now at Crystal Palace ).

Tournament director Ronan Gibney says the tournament has attracted a superb array of talent from Ireland, England and USA.

"We’re proud that the tournament has continued to grow each year, and we are striving to make the competition bigger and better all the time - with Salthill Devon’s Drom facility being further developed at the moment."

•Galway United Friends Co-op is running a bus to Saturday's FAI Cup match versus North End United at Ferrycarraig Park, leaving Prospect Hill at 1pm and collecting en route to Wexford (via Dublin ). Contact Dominick Walsh 087-9163438 or Ronan Coleman 087-6972823.



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