Irish soccer legend Ronnie Whelan kicks off Umbro Galway Cup

The seventh annual Umbro Galway Cup takes place this weekend and former Ireland and Liverpool player Ronnie Whelan was on hand to officially launch this year’s event. The four day tournament kicked off yesterday at Drom, the home of Salthill Devon, and runs right through to Saturday. Forty nine teams from five countries will play 125 games and compete to be named winner of their category.

The tournament consists of five sections - the 1994 Boys, 1996 Elite, 1996 Boys, 1998 Elite, and 1998 Boys. The action got under way yesterday at 9.30am, with the Galway District League losing 2-1 to Lucan in the 1998 Boys Elite section. Salthill Devon drew 1-1 with Donegal Schoolboys, while Mervue United rescued Galway’s day with a 3-1 win over the NDSL.

Denis Burke, tournament director, outlined some of the weekend’s more interesting ties: “The FAI Emerging Talent versus Glasgow Celtic on Thursday at 5.55pm, Aberdeen versus Glasgow Celtic on Friday at 11.50am, and the Cup final on Saturday at 2.40pm are all games not to be missed.”

Some 1,100 players and coaches are expected to attend this four day event, which in the past has seen many young Irish hopefuls succeed all the way to international and professional level.

This year, Kinect for Xbox 360 has come on board to sponsor the 1996 Elite category of this year’s tournament and welcome the Kinect for Xbox 360 Fun Station which will be in Drom throughout the tournament. Fellow sponsor Supermacs will be sponsoring the 1996 Club category, Smyth’s Toys sponsors the 1998 Club category, and Fáilte Ireland is sponsoring the 1998 Elite category.

The event promises to be fun for players and spectators alike. Passes for the four day event can be purchased on the gate and are priced at €20 for adults and €10 for children, which allows access for the four days. Daily passes are also available and are priced at €6 for adults and €3 for children. For more information on the Umbro Galway Cup, log onto www.galwaycup.com or contact Denis Burke, tournament director, on 087-7442877. A full list of groups and competing sides is contained in the accompanying table.

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