Exciting link up between club and Schoolboys League in the pipeline

Gavin McLaughlin

Reporter:

Gavin McLaughlin

Martin Connolly will continue in his role as Dundalk U19 manager but will review his position come the end of the season.

Martin Connolly will continue in his role as Dundalk U19 manager but will review his position come the end of the season.

Connolly, who took up the position as the club’s general manager recently, is also Dundalk FC’s Head of Youth Development and coach of the DkIT football team. He admits it is a heavy workload, but one he is reluctant to walk away from just yet.

“Can I be part of all the things I’m doing at the minute? I don’t know just yet,” he told the Dundalk Democrat.

“I’ve put in a huge amount of work at youth level over the past few years and we are reaping some rewards from it. I’m not prepared to walk away from that at the moment.”

Another initiative that Connolly is involved with is the academy link up between Dundalk FC and the Dundalk Schoolboys League, as first revealed in the Dundalk Democrat last November.

Under the proposals, Dundalk FC will ‘take over’ the running of the league’s representative teams from U11 to U13 level, although these teams will still come under the banner of the Dundalk Schoolboys League. The training and coaching of the players will take place at Oriel Park.

“I think that would be great for the club and the right thing to do for football people in the town. I want to be part of that,” said Connolly.

“We’ve had the first set of trials for the U11s, a number of trials have been held for the U12s and there is a development squad already in place for the U13s. We have loads of people who have shown an interest in getting involved. We are looking for young, enthusiastic coaches who will play the right way and want to continue up the FAI coaching ladder.

“We want the whole structure to be run correctly, as an academy, and the Schoolboys League have completely embraced that idea and given us all their support,” he continued. “In the next few weeks we hope to put together a document, signed by Dundalk FC and the Schoolboys League, and launch it.

“I think it’s a great concept,” he added. “Everybody is singing from the same hymn sheet. We’re not saying we will produce mass talented footballers on tap, but we will try and give players a chance to develop.”