Two of the country’s biggest soccer stars have thrown their support behind the University of Ulster’s Magee campus, as it announced it is hosting this year’s Collingwood Cup.
Manchester United and Ireland international Darron Gibson, and Celtic and Northern Ireland footballer Paddy McCourt sent messages of support to the University campus ahead of today’s [Thursday 28 January] launch.
The Mayor of Derry, Cllr Paul Fleming, was on hand to help launch one of Ireland’s biggest soccer competitions, which will see 13 teams from universities across Ireland converge on the city on March 1 for the four-day competition
He said: “I am delighted to welcome the Collingwood Cup to the city. I thank the organisers for bringing the competition here for the first time and I hope all competitors who are new to the city enjoy their time here. This competition promises to deliver some excellent football and I wish everyone involved the very best for a successful event."
The Collingwood Cup has been running since 1914 but it is the first time the Magee campus has linked up with the Irish Universities Football Union to host the tournament.
Gibson, a native of the city, has been one of the rising stars of the Premier League champions this season. He said: “The announcement of the competition coming to Magee is great news for the sport in Derry. I grew up playing at the University of Ulster pitches at Duncreggan and it is a great honour for the Collingwood Cup to come to the city for the first time.
“Hopefully we can make the most of the home advantage and also make it another historic occasion with Magee lifting the trophy for the first time in the campuses history.”
Celtic’s Paddy McCourt, who spent three years with Derry City FC before his 2008 move to the Scottish giants, said: “The Collingwood Cup is a real landmark event for the city. Bringing universities from all over the country to the Magee campus will highlight the great footballing tradition in Derry and will give the people of the city the chance to see some of the country’s best footballers right on their doorstep.”
This year, the host campus has received a bye into the second round of this year’s competition, while Ulster’s Coleraine side face QUB, and Jordanstown take on Dublin City University.
Ulster teams have had recent success in the competition, with Jordanstown winning the trophy in 2008 and 2006, when they beat Ulster’s Coleraine campus.
Professor Deirdre Heenan, University of Ulster’s Dean of Academic Development, said: “It is an honour for the University to host such a prestigious event. It will bring many benefits to the city. As well as promoting sport in the community, it will undoubtedly benefit the local economy, with so many from across the country coming to our city.
“The opportunity for Magee to host the tournament is a unique opportunity for the people of the city to enjoy some of the most exciting young football talent on show. I would urge all the people of Derry to come out and support sport and support their local team.”The draw for the Collingwood Cup, 1-4 March 2010, at the University of Ulster’s Magee campus –
Ulster University Coleraine vs Queens University Belfast
Ulster University Jordanstown vs Dublin City University
Mary Immaculate College vs University College Cork
University College Dublin vs NUI Maynooth
NUI Galway vs Royal College of Surgeons
Ulster University Magee – bye to the second round