The Dundalk Schoolboys League U14 representative team began their Kennedy Cup campaign yesterday (Monday) when they took on the Midlands League in their opening group match of the prestigious competition.
The squad, under the guidance of manager Brian McGuinness, are scheduled to face Roscommon today (Tuesday) at 10.30am before concluding the group stage with a tough assignment against one of the tournament favourites, the Cork League, at 4pm.
Dundalk’s preparation for the tournament began in January and McGuinness is confident that his players can do the league proud in Limerick.
“Our last friendly game was in the first week of April when we played a 2-2 draw away to Drogheda. We beat Drogheda 4-1 at home in January and we lost 1-0 at home to Wicklow in March but we couldn’t arrange any more friendly games since because of the amount of games the players were playing with their clubs and also because of their GAA commitments.
“However, the players have all trained really well, once every week since January, and twice weekly over the last few weeks and are all now really looking forward to the tournament.”
All 32 teams in the Kennedy Cup have to be coached by qualified UEFA Level B coaches therefore the standard of all the teams participating is much higher now than in previous years.
The Dundalk Schoolboys League players will gain great experience from the Kennedy Cup and will also gain more tournament experience in July at the Gothia Cup in Sweden.
Participation in these tournaments will help them in their path towards the Milk Cup in 2015 and it is hoped that the core of the squad will go on and play with the Dundalk FC Youths team in the future.
The signs are good; eight players from the the victorious Leinster Youth Cup winning Dundalk Youths side all played at the Kennedy Cup with the Dundalk Schoolboys League.
Other notable players who performed at the competition representing Dundalk Schoolboys League is current Dundalk FC player Marc Griffin (2005). Fellow Lilywhites, Andy Boyle and Richie Towell were also part of the competition that year, winning the trophy as part of the Dublin and District Schoolboys League squad.
DUNDALK SCHOOLBOYS LEAGUE U14 SQUAD: Mark Byrne, Peter McStravick Mark Kilgallen, Thomas O’Connell (all Glenmuir Utd); David Hayes, Jack McKenna (all Glenmuir Celtic); Jamie Doherty, Conor Mackin, Odhran Kieran, James Prendergast, Ronain Bailey (Quay Celtic); Daniel Corcoran, Kizito Ekwueme, Aidan Curtin, Liam O’Callaghan (all Rock Celtic); Liam Jackson, Tristan Knowles, Neil Kerr (all Ardee Celtic); Colm Bracken (Redeemer Utd); Conor Keenan (Bellurgan Utd); Dylan Owens (Shamrocks FC); Morgan McCaughey (St Dominic’s). Management/staff: Brian McGuinness, Ciaran Taaffe, David McKenny and Stephen Lally.