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Well-prepared West Cork ready to make their mark

June 8th, 2018 1:00 PM

By Ger McCarthy

Exciting challenge: The West Cork Schoolboys League team that will compete at the Kennedy Cup next week.

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THE 2018 New Balance Kennedy Cup begins on Monday with the West Cork Schoolboys League U14s facing a tough opening group at the SFAI’s most prestigious tournament of the year.

Thirty-two Irish schoolboys’ league squads, backroom teams, scouts from some of the top European clubs and huge crowds will descend upon the University of Limerick from Sunday onwards as the most important week in the SFAI’s calendar gets underway.

West Cork take on South Dublin Football League at 6pm and on Tuesday (June 12th) they play Kildare at 12.30pm and Limerick County at 6pm.

West Cork’s representatives, under the guidance of Johnny Lawless and Lorne Edmeade, are about to embark on one of the most memorable weeks in their young football playing careers. 

Training, eating, playing competitive matches and rooming together as a squad will be the closest any of the players has come to experiencing what it is like to be a young
professional footballer.

‘The last few weeks have been good enough even though we have a few lads carrying knocks but we will have 20 fully-fit lads ready for the Kennedy Cup,’ commented West Cork Schoolboys League Kennedy Cup coach Johnny Lawless.

‘The players seem to be getting more excited as we get closer to the start date, talking about where they are going to be staying, who they are playing and which scouts might be watching them. 

Everything is good at the moment.’

As coaches, there is not much more Lawless and fellow WCSL manager Lorne Edmeade can do this close to the Kennedy Cup tournament. 

All the hard work has been completed on the training pitch and it is just a case of fine-tuning preparations.

‘All we can do at this late stage is to work on their set pieces and keep reminding the players to play the way we want them to play,’ WCSL coach Lawless stated.

‘Hopefully, the amount of preparation work we have done will stand to us in Limerick. 

‘In the past year, I believe, we have played more friendlies than any other previous West Cork squad heading to the Kennedy Cup.

‘Out of the 32 competing teams, we have played 15 of them and faced most of the others in previous years at the Galway Cup or in friendlies. It has been an amazing year for WCSL Inter-League soccer so a positive Kennedy Cup campaign would be the icing on the cake.’

The 2018 West Cork Schoolboys League New Balance Kennedy Cup squad includes Aaron Mannix (Dunmanway Town), Oisin O’Sullivan (Lyre Rovers), Joseph Bailey (Lyre Rovers), Ciarán O’Regan (Drinagh Rangers), Dan Twomey (Lyre Rovers), Sam Pickering (Leeside), John O’Donovan (Ardfield), Olan Corcoran (Riverside Athletic), Paddy Cronin (Bantry Bay Rovers), Jamie O’Driscoll (Skibbereen), Tomás Ó Donabháin (Ardfield), Owen Tobin (Drinagh Rangers), Michael O’Driscoll (Bunratty United), Lorcan O’Brien (Bunratty United), William Hennigan (Riverside Athletic), Finian Hogan (Bunratty United), Darragh O’Reilly (Bunratty United), Conor Twomey (Ardfield), Eoghan O’Sullivan (Bantry Bay Rovers) and Cian Jacob (Lyre Rovers).

Involved in the 2018 New Balance Kennedy Cup backroom team are Hugh O’Reilly (Head of Delegation), John Lawless (manager), Lorne Emeade (manager), Zoran Teodorovic (coach), Shane Hurley (physio and kit man), DJ Curtin (goalkeeping coach).

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