Dundalk first team coach Vinny Perth is well placed to give an opinion about the club’s link up with Malahide United.
Perth spent two years as manager of Malahide United’s first team between 2010 and 2012 and speaking to The Dundalk Democrat at Gannon Park last Wednesday night, he said that Dundalk FC had secured a partnership with one of the first schoolboys clubs in the country.
“It’s a match made in heaven,” he said. “For a player to become a top player at Dundalk or anywhere else, then they have to learn how to do things the right way. They do that at Malahide.
“The schoolboys set up here is exceptional,” he continued. “It’s a real community based club with teams in the North Dublin Schoolboys League, elite teams in the Dublin and District Schoolboys League and elite coaches.
“The coaches are given pathways for their respective badges and are very experienced. The facilities here are the best in the country and the players are well looked after so it’s a perfect fit for us at Dundalk.”
The first influx of Malahide players to Oriel Park is expected to coincide with the start of the new U17 National League in August.
“You would hope that the makeup of our new U17 side is predominantly local lads from Dundalk,” said Perth.
“That’s what we want and that’s what is best for the club but if we can get some of the elite players from north county Dublin mixed in with that then it can only enhance the whole set up.”
The link up is another example of Dundalk’s progress since the club was acquired by owners Andy Connolly and Paul Brown at the back end of 2012. And, with Stephen Kenny in charge of matters on the field, Perth feels the benefits of the partnership could be long lasting.
“Developing and bringing players through is part of Stephen’s mantra. He has more players capped for Ireland than any other League of Ireland manager. You think of Stephen Ward right through to James McClean, it shows that Stephen believes in youth,” he said.
“For too long League of Ireland clubs went to the top and fell away too quickly. You have to build foundations and leave a legacy. This is one step towards leaving a small legacy at Dundalk because we now have a pathway for players from the age of 15 to go through to the first team.”
“Winning the league this year is the most important thing for the club but it’s also important that we give the manager in five years time the very best chance of winning the league. That’s the work that’s going on behind the scenes,” added Perth.