Seatown say goodbye to Dundalk Schoolboys League after 26-years

LAST Tuesday night’s Fastfix U18 Cup semi-final defeat to Muirhevnamor not only marked the end of Seatown’s season but it also brought the curtain down on the club’s 26-year spell in the Dundalk Schoolboys League.

LAST Tuesday night’s Fastfix U18 Cup semi-final defeat to Muirhevnamor not only marked the end of Seatown’s season but it also brought the curtain down on the club’s 26-year spell in the Dundalk Schoolboys League.

After entering the Dundalk Schoolboys League for the first time in 1986, the club grew year on year and in 1992 they reached their peak, entering 10 teams in the Schoolboys League, a team in the Dundalk Summer League and regularly fielding an Over-35s team.

Key to the growth of the club was the use of the old Greyhound Stadium at the Ramparts as their home ground. After holding initial training sessions in St Helena’s Park and St Leonard’s Garden, the club moved to the stadium in 1987.

The closure of the venue in November 2000 was a huge blow to Seatown and after 12 years without somewhere to call home, it has finally caught up with the club according to U18 manager, club founder and ‘last man standing’ Brian McGuinness.

“There are plenty of players about but we’ve no real facility of our own and that’s the main reason we’re calling it a day”, he said. “If we had a home base we would still be going. Because of that we haven’t been able to build up teams behind the U18 side who are the last to play in the Schoolboys League.

“We had the Fair Green for two years when we played in the North East Counties League at the end of the 90s. We tried to extend our stay there but Colaiste Ris wouldn’t allow it while the Marist were the same when we asked them. We approached the council many times. There was always the promise of a pitch coming out at the dump but it never came about.

“What it meant was that all the people involved with Seatown FC lost interest because there was nothing happening. A few of us kept it going. Myself and Edwin De Roever and Brian O’Shaughnessy were looking after it for the last few years but they lost interest so I’m the last one standing.”

McGuinness was part of a three man group who formed the club back in 1984, mainly to stop the exodus of local young players from the Seatown area to other Schoolboys League clubs.

“Myself, Sean Boland and David Coburn formed the club in 1984. We had a team in the Street League, which is the Winter League, from Seatown and I remember David’s son, Jason, was eight and he was heading to play with the Quay. Other young lads from the area were heading everywhere else to play with clubs so we decided to set up one of our own.

“Myself and Paddy Lennon from Bachelors Walk got a couple of teams together. Paddy took the U12s and I took the U8s and U10s and we took it from there.”

The past 26-years have left McGuinness with a host of memories and a real sense of pride.

“Thousands of players have come through and we’re proud of that. We did win leagues and cups over the years but winning wasn’t everything. It was a community thing. The main highlights are the trips abroad.We built up great friendship and respect between the players and managers.”

McGuinness is hoping to keep his current crop of players together for as long as possible. They will make their annual trip to the Gothia Cup in Sweden in July and have also returned to adult football where they will compete in this year’s Summer League First Division.

“We were in the Summer League over 20 years ago and we were in the U20 Summer League about eight years ago. The lads are old enough and they asked could they enter it so we did and we’ll try to maybe keep that team together”’, he said.

Would Seatown ever return to the Schoolboys League?

“I wouldn’t think so”, said Brian. “It’s open for somebody else to take the club over of course, the name is there but it’s not for me any more.”