Clonakilty Community College soccer team to take on Italian giants Roma and Lazio

February 27th, 2023 2:30 PM

By Kieran McCarthy

Players from the Clonakilty Community College U14 soccer team that will take part in the inaugural Adriatic Cup in April. Back from left, Christos Delis, Ewan Knowles, Conrad Murphy, Rory Twohig, Anthony Hunt and Darragh Keohane. Front from left, Jack Hayes, Daniel Donovan, Denis Shanahan, Luke Dollery, Cillian Sturdy, Alex O'Regan, Eamon Murphy and Paddy Haughney. Missing from photo are John Michael Foley, Joe Twomey, Tom Whooley, Nathan O'Sullivan and Callum Collins.

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A SOCCER team from Clonakilty Community College will rub shoulders with Italian giants Roma and Lazio in the inaugural Adriatic Cup in late April.

Nineteen players from the West Cork school will travel to Giulianova, on the east coast of Italy, to take on academy sides from Serie A powerhouses Roma, Lazio, Bologna and Udinese.

This will be the trip of a lifetime for these blossoming Clonakilty Community College U14 soccer stars who, flying out to Italy on April 28th, have the chance to put West Cork soccer on the map.

‘This will be a unique opportunity,’ explains school teacher Stewart Dollery whose connections in Italian soccer saw an invitation extended to the Clonakilty secondary school. 

‘There will be eight teams – Lazio, Roma, Bologna, Udinese and a couple of local teams. Two groups of four, all teams get to play four games, three in the group and then a final, depending on where you finish in your group.

‘The lads are training hard now and can’t wait for this. We’ve a good team here; we’ve played seven games so far, won six and drawn one.

‘It’s going to be a trip these boys will never forget,’ adds Dollery – and he’s right. Think of Roma, their men’s team is third in Serie A now and managed by Jose Mourinho. Lazio sit fifth in the table. These are proper Italian soccer giants, and an U14 team from Clonakilty Community College is determined to show them that West Cork can hold their own with the best.

‘I have been involved with Cork soccer for a long time, but there is amazing talent here in West Cork,’ Dollery explains. 

‘This is a chance for local lads here to show what they can do and show that they are just as good as what’s out there. This is a great opportunity for them to get exposure.’

This is also an opportunity for local businesses to support this trailblazing Clonakilty team that will represent its school, Clon and surrounding areas, and West Cork.

‘We have wonderful support locally – Stone Valley in Clon are our main sponsors, and Clonakilty Blackpudding, Clonakilty Park Hotel, Coughlans Bookshop, Craft&Co and Foley Funeral Directors,’ Dollery says.

‘We have set a target that we are trying to raise, and are slightly off it at the moment so it would be great to have more sponsors come on board and be a part of this incredible trip.

‘Since we are going over to Italy to play professional academies I want to make sure that the lads feel like they belong and want them to be kitted out well, with nice training tops and hopefully tracksuits or half zips.

‘We want our squad to look as professional as possible and to reflect well on the school and the local area.’

If your business wants to get behind the Clonakilty Community College soccer team, then email [email protected] or contact the school on 023-8833877.

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