Tuesday, February 01, 2005

New Soccer Cup Builds Bridges in Ireland

A new soccer competition has been announced in Ireland that will involve leading teams from both the Republic and Northern Ireland. The Setanta Cup will be the first cross-border football competition on the divided island for 20 years, and it is hoped the new competition will help build bridges between communities in the north and south.

The competition is sponsored by Irish satellite and cable broadcaster Setanta, who are funding the event to the tune of €1.6m over four years. Winners of the competition will receive €150,000 and the runners-up €80,000. Each of the other four teams taking part will receive €30,000. Setanta will broadcast ten of the 13 matches played in the competition.

The Setanta Cup will feature three teams each from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland: the winners and runners-up of the national league in each state, and the winners of the national cup competition. It was jointly launched by Setanta, the Football Association of Ireland and the Irish Football Association. The new Cup is a successor to the Tyler of Blaxnit Cups which took place between teams from the north and south of Ireland in the 1970s and early 1980s.

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