27 May SFAI Winners Well Prepared for Champions Cup
The Champions Cup often tests the very best youth Irish football has to offer, from both Northern Ireland and the Republic. The best the SFAI (Schoolboy Football Association of Ireland) has to offer get the opportunity to take on the best of NIFBA (Northern Ireland Football Boys Association).
The Champions Cup began as a one-off two-legged Under-15 contest three year’s ago, as St Oliver Plunkett’s beat Shelbourne. Since then there have been an array of winners from clubs both large and small, illustrating the strides being made forward in Irish youth football over the past decade.
Ahead of this year’s tournament, set to take place December 27 2016, at a venue yet to be confirmed Oriel Park, several of the teams set to play in the tournament later this year found success in the SFAI All Ireland Finals. The winners of the under-12’s, under-13’, under-14’s and under-15’s SFAI All Ireland Finals will compete in this year’s Champions Cup.
Cherry Orchard were the under-12’s victors, and will hope to continue their club’s rich success in the Champions Cup. Indeed, the South Dublin club won the 2014 Champions Cup under-14 section, with their young up and comers hoping to follow suit this December.
Joining Cherry Orchard on the back of their SFAI All Ireland success will be Belvedere FC, who won the under-13’s section of the countrywide competition. Belvedere, who play in Fairview, North Dublin, have developed notable Irish internationals Wes Hoolahan and David Forde in the past.
The under-14 winners of the SFAI All Ireland’s this year were St. Joseph’s Boys, and will be also taking a place in the Champions Cup this December. Of all the representatives no one will feel at home just as much as St. Joseph’s Boys, having had winners in the last two iterations of the competitions.
Hailing from Sallynoggin, Co. Dublin, St. Joseph’s Boys have been known as a cornerstone of Irish youth football for over half a century, having formed in 1953. With not only a rich success over the years but specifically in the Champions Cup, their under-14’s will be expecting more success this winter.
And last but certainly not least we must mention the SFAI All Ireland winners for the under-15 section St. Kevin’s Boys. Another club from Dublin who have helped grow the infrastructure for Irish youth football. St. Kevin’s Boys will be comfortable in the Champions Cup arena, having competed in the tournament many times before.
St. Kevin’s Boys have had a host of players making the move to English clubs every season, such as Robbie Brady and Jeff Hendrick who look forward to the Euro’s next month.
Although the Champions Cup remains many months away, such preparation is required when taking on the very elite Ireland youth football as to offer. With big crowds and scouts from some of England’s biggest clubs likely be in attendance, this is the opportunity of a lifetime for all those taking part. We would like to wish all the Republic representative sides the best of luck taking part this December, with more news to follow in the coming weeks of the Northern Ireland sides.