The battle for underage soccer honours began in Salthill Devon’s Drom Soccer Park yesterday on the opening day of the Umbro Galway Cup.
The four-day tournament, which concludes on Saturday, attracts some of the world’s leading youngsters, and this year more than 50 teams from Ireland, Britain, Europe, the US, and Mexico have already began their assault for title honours.
Soccer players from 12 to 17 years old are taking part in six competitions during the week in what has been billed as the most competitive Galway Cup to date.
Yesterday’s action began with some of the group stages of all competitions, u-17 boys, u-15 elite boys, u-15 boys, u-13 elite boys, u-13 boys, and u-17 girls.
The Lifestyle Sports u-15 elite competition sees defending champions Leicester City pitted against the 2007 winners Ipswich Town, 2006 winners Aberdeen, DDSL side St Joseph’s Boys, and the Galway District League, while in the other group, newcomers Sunderland and Norwegian outfit Valerenga face last year’s beaten finalists FAI Emerging Talent, DDSL 07/08 Premier Champions Cherry Orchard, and Fulham.
Four games were down for decision in Group A yesterday with the FAI Emerging Talent opening their campaign against Valerenga, with a second against Sunderland. Cherry Orchard were due to play Sunderland, while Valerenga were also to face Fulham. In Group B, the Galway and District League were due to open their competition against St Joseph’s Boys yesterday evening..
In the u-15 club competition hosts Salthill Devon have two teams in action. Saltill Devon 1995 are in Group A alongside Westport, Foyle Harps, Massachusetts, and Ballymoney, while in Group V Salthill Devon 1994 are joined by Glentoran, Ballymaesduff, St Francis, and Bangor Amatuers.
In the u-17 competition, Salthill Devon, Mervue United, and Galway Hiberians are in action against Confey FC, Sea Coast FC, Belvedere, and Templeogue, while five teams will compete in the girls’ u-17 cup. Defending champions Salthill Devon are joined by 2005 winners Bealnamula, SFAI Cup quarter-finalists Colga, Cork Women’s & Schoolgirls’ Soccer League, and the first international outfit to compete in this section, Northern Ireland.
Two of the fancied sides in the Fáilte Ireland u-13 elite section avoid each other in the group stages. Sports Clinic, the Mexican side with close ties to Cruz Azul, recently won the u-13 Dana Cup in Denmark, and are the current league and cup champions at home. St Kevin’s Boys, the reigning SFAI Cup and DDSL premier champions, are on the other side of the draw, and must finish ahead of Sligo/Leitrim, North Tipperary, West Waterford/East Cork, and Galway District League. Sports Clinic are in the same group as defending champions Donegal Schoolboys, along with Athlone, FC Carlow, and Conncht Cup Champions Salthill Devon.
Tickets to the Umbro Galway Cup can be purchased at the gate and special rates apply for children and family groups.
U-15 Elite competition: Group A , Thurday, Fulham v Cherry Orchard 10.40am; Valerenga v Sunderland 1pm; FAI Emerging Talent v Fulham 5pm; Friday, FAI Emerging Talent v Cherry Orchard 10.40am; Fulham v Sunderland 2.40pm; Valerenga v Cherry Orchard 5pm. Group B, Thursday, Leicester City v Ipswich Town 9.30am; Aberdeen v Galway DL 11.50am; Galway DL v Leicester City 6.10pm; Aberdeen v St Joseph’s Boys 7.20pm; Friday, Ipswich Town v Galway DL 9.30am; Aberdeen v Leicester City 11.50am; Ipswich Town v St Joseph’s Boys 3.50pm.
U-15 Club competition: Group A, Thursday, Massachusetts Premier Soccer v Ballymoney Utd 1pm; Salthill Devon 1995 v Foyle Harps 1pm; Friday, Salthill Devon 1995 v Westport 9.30am; Foyle Harps v Ballymoney Utd 10.40am; Salthill Devon 1995 v Massachusetts Premier Soccer 3.50pm; Westport v Foyle Harps 6.10pm. Group B: Thursday, St Francis v Salthill Devon 1994 10.40am; Ballyjamesduff vBangor Amateurs 1pm; Glentoran v St Francis 6.10pm; Friday, Glentoran v Salthill Devon 1994 11.50am; Ballyjamesduff v St Francis 11.50am; Salthill Devon 1994 v Bangor Amateurs 6.10pm.
U-17 boys competition: Group A, Thurday, Salthill Devon 1993 v Confey FC 2.40pm; Mervue Utd v Sea Coast Utd 2.40pm; Group B, Thursday, Salthill Devon 1992 v Templeogue 9.30am; Belvedere v Galway Hibernians 9.30am; Salthill Devon 1992 vGalway Hibernians 3.50pm; Belvedere v Templeogue 3.50pm.
U-17 girls competion: Thursday, Northern Ireland v Colga 11.50am; Salthill Devon v Bealnamula 11.50am; Salthill Devon v Colga 7.20pm; Northern Ireland v Cork 7.20pm; Friday, Bealnamula v Cork 9.30am; Salthill Devon v Northern Ireland 10.40am; Salthill Devon v Cork 5pm; Colga v Bealnamula 6.10pm; Saturday, Northern Ireland v Bealnamula; 9.30am; Colga v Cork 9.30am; Final 3.50pm.