Speaking at the launch of the Mayo International Cup, the c
hairman of the organising committee Gerry Gallagher paid tribute to all the groups, sponsors, partners and voluntary workers that played a part in bringing the event to this stage. He said a lot of time and effort had gone into the project thus far, and the committee was adamant that the event would be a resounding success.
He went on to say: “This will be a golden opportunity for our talented players to display their skill among the elite of the football world. The visiting academies will see how we look after and care for our young footballers in a professional manner despite our meagre resources in terms of finance. We hope to expand and develop the tournament to cater for girls and grassroots football by extending invitations to towns and cities that have links in the Mayo area such as Hochstadt (Germany ), Ballymena, Auray (France ), Buenos Aires (Argentina ), and a number of other links in the UK and Northern Ireland – I have every confidence that this competition will grow and have a snowball effect with all the partners that we have on board. We believe that Mayo is a special place and we want to showcase the county and its people by means of this tournament.”
Mr Gallagher went on to express his special thanks to local sponsor Brendan Heneghan, and both Mayo County Council and Castlebar Town Council for their financial support and backing for the event and hoped that they would continue to be partners in the years ahead. Mr Gallagher also paid special tribute to the Mayo Schoolboys League and Mayo Football League for their financial support for the event.
Paul Byrne, F.A.I. county development office for Mayo, outlined the details of the proposed tournament: “We have three top academies from Norwich City, Watford and West Ham competing in the tournament together with the best of local talent from the Mayo Schoolboys League. Norwich City where Chris Hughton has just been appointed senior team manager is renowned for their development and care of young footballers for decades. Watford is possibly the top club in terms of their academies in the entire U.K. This club constantly brings its academy players on to the first team, and carefully nurture all players throughout their careers. What is most pleasing about Watford is that they include an 18-hour weekly education element into the fostering and development of players, and we hope to use their experience and knowledge to pass on to our own clubs during the course of the tournament. Our third team is possibly the original club that is best known as the “Academy of football” - West Ham. Many fine players such as Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand, Jermaine Defoe, Joe Cole and many others have come through from the academies and pure football is second nature to this club.” Mr Byrne went on to thank all the various sponsors, groups, and partners that have played a role over the past number of months in getting this tournament up and running and was now looking forward to a most rewarding time at the various games that will happen at selected venues in the county at the end of August.