The SFAI New Balance Kennedy Cup kicks off at the University of Limerick next Tuesday with the West Cork Schoolboys Inter-League eager to make their mark.
Danny McQueen (Drinagh Rangers) will be in charge of the WCSL’s 2019 Kennedy Cup campaign which starts with three difficult Group 2 games against North Dublin (NDSL), Limerick District and Roscommon (RYDSL).
This year’s West Cork squad has plenty of pedigree and was the first in the region’s history to claim SFAI silverware. The WCSL defeated Clare 3-0 to win the SFAI Munster U13 Plate trophy back in 2018. Ben O’Sullivan (2) and Tom McQueen were on target that historic afternoon in Ennis and hopes are high that a squad who finished in seventh overall in last year’s Galway Cup can make a similar impact in UL next week.
‘We are looking forward to the challenge and the lads are excited about the prospect of playing at the Kennedy Cup,’ West Cork manager Danny McQueen said.
‘You are always learning and we went to the Clare Cup a couple of weeks ago which was the squad’s third time being away together. We try not to build the Kennedy Cup as the be all and end all. My main aim is for the lads to go and enjoy the experience and come home in one piece without any serious injuries.
‘Obviously, we have prepared the best way we possibly could. If the lads play to their full potential, then we will do fine and enjoy it a lot more. We have played a lot of friendlies in the build-up to this year’s tournament including a recent meeting with Cork who are one the favourites to do well up in Limerick.’
Becoming the first West Cork squad to win an SFAI trophy drew a lot of headlines and McQueen believes that his young squad are capable of competing at the highest schoolboys’ level.
‘We have a really good bunch of lads that have been together as a squad since they were 11-years-old,’ McQueen stated.
‘There is a lot of talent out there in West Cork. The problem is that our pick of players is not as big as other leagues. Our strength in depth is not the same compared to other schoolboys’ squads from the cities. Still, we have 18 quality players who will give everything they have at the Kennedy Cup and that is all you can ask.’
The 2019 West Cork Schoolboys League Kennedy Cup squad includes Darragh Gough (Ardfield), Adam O’Regan (Drinagh Rangers), Colm Hayes (Ardfield), Dan Andrews (Bantry Bay Rovers), Callum McElhinney (Bantry Bay Rovers), Ben O’Sullivan (Bantry Bay Rovers), Tommy O’Sullivan (Bantry Bay Rovers), Sam Pickering (Bunratty United), James McKnight (Bunratty United), Tom Ryan-Purcell (Bunratty United), Sean Parsons (Bunratty United), Edward Myers (Drinagh Rangers), Tom McQueen (Drinagh Rangers), Luke Shorten (Drinagh Rangers), Oran McCarthy (Dunmanway Town), Shane Barry (Dunmanway Town) and Conor O’Sullivan (Lyre Rovers).