Dundalk Schoolboys League U13 team of 1999.
Twenty years ago, on this weekend - April 30 to May 3, 1999 - Dundalk Schoolboys League U13s representative team were the successful winners of a six-team invitational mini- tournament played at the University of Ulster in Coleraine.
The other five teams were Northern Ireland Boys FA, Aberdeen Juvenile League (Scotland), Mid- Warwickshire Youth League (England), Loch Ryan Boys Club (Scotland) and Dublin side Stella Maris.
Several members of this team went on to play for Dundalk FC seniors; Paul Murphy, Michael Coburn, Michael O’Kane, Andrew Duffy and Eamon Mulvenna (RIP). Murphy and Duffy were capped at schoolboys’ level for the Republic of Ireland and Shane Lennon and Brian White played many times for the Louth seniors.
This was the first occasion Dundalk SBL were invited to play in this tournament which was formed in 1988 following a meeting between Jack Wood of the Aberdeen Juvenile League and Jim Weir of the Northern Ireland Boys’ FA.
The first tournament was played in Scotland in 1988 and was won by Northern Ireland Boys FA. The team included former Manchester Utd and Blackburn Rovers player Keith Gillespie and was managed by the late Jimmy McAlinden, who was capped by both the North and Republic of Ireland.
Dundalk had a disastrous start, suffering a heavy 5-1 defeat to NI Boys FA in their opening game on the Friday, Barry Walsh was Dundalk’s goal scorer, but they bounced back on Saturday morning with a massive 7-0 win over the Mid-Warwickshire Youth League with goals from Mulvenna (3), Lennon (2), Darragh Greene and Walsh.
They then recorded another big win on Saturday afternoon, beating Loch Ryan Boys Club, 5-1, with goals from Mulvenna, Walsh, Ken McKenna and Greene (2) to qualify for the final.
The tournament was subsequently put on hold as no games were allowed to be played on Sundays at that time, but the Dundalk boys surprised many at the tournament by beating the favourites, Aberdeen Juvenile League, 2-0, in the final on Monday with a goal in each half from Walsh and White. The Jack Wood trophy was presented to Dundalk captain Paul Murphy by former Northern Ireland and Glasgow Celtic legend Bertie Peacock after the final.
Dundalk: Paul Murphy (Seatown), Michael Coburn (Quay Celtic), Andrew Duffy (Quay), Michael O’Kane (Muirhevnamor), Carl Todd (St. Dominic’s), Shane Lennon (Seatown), Seán Fee (Glenmuir), Brian White (Bellurgan), Ken McKenna (Quay), Eamon Mulvenna (Muirhevnamor), Darragh Greene (Seatown), Barry Walsh (Quay), Declan McGuinness (Bellurgan), Dean McLoughlin (Quay), Gary Lennon (Rock Celtic), Barry Kieran (Quay), Brian Murnaghan (Bellurgan), Stephen Coleman (Glenmuir).
Co-managed by Brian McGuinness, Benny O’Shaughnessy and Terry Kelly.