THE West Cork Schoolboys League found out their opponents for the opening phase of the 2019 New Balance SFAI Kennedy Cup following the tournament draw.
Coach Danny McQueen will lead the WCSL U14 squad out at the University of Limerick for this summer’s prestigious tournament. Drawn in Group 2 of the opening phase, West Cork will face top seeds North Dublin (NDSL) on the opening day before playing a double-header against Limerick District and the Roscommon District Youth (RDYSL) on day two.
McQueen and his not-yet-finalised panel have been extremely active either side of the new year, playing multiple friendlies and training twice a week as part of their build-up to the big kick-off on June 11th.
‘We have got to believe that there is nothing to fear going to the University of Limerick again this year,’ McQueen said.
‘We are as good as any of the other leagues in the tournament. We might be coming from a small area but the last couple of years we have matched some of the best teams in the Kennedy Cup.
‘It is worth remembering that this year’s (U14) squad had a terrific run at U13 inter-league level last year. We won the SFAI Munster U13 Plate and lost an All-Ireland semi-final to Cavan-Monaghan by a single goal. We firmly believe we are good enough to compete at the Kennedy Cup so all we need the lads to do is put in as many good performances as they can and see where that takes us.’
West Cork Emerging Talent Programme (ETP) Co-ordinator DJ Curtin is hoping the region’s Kennedy Cup squad get the most out of their participation in the upcoming Clare Cup. That annual tournament acts as a useful precursor to June’s Kennedy Cup by offering competing inter-leagues the chance to stay away from home and play a similar style tournament format.
‘The Clare Cup which is on in May of this year will give Danny McQueen and his squad the chance to properly prepare for the following month’s Kennedy Cup,’ Curtin commented.
‘The lads have been very busy in their preparations since before Christmas anyway but the chance to play four competitive games in two days up in Clare should really stand to the squad. It is difficult to get friendlies when we are so far south but Danny’s squad have still managed to play a lot of games against the likes of Kilkenny and Kerry and certainly learned from those encounters.
‘One interesting thing from this year’s draw is that we will be facing three leagues we would know little about. I can’t recall any time we have played any of the Group 2 sides. Limerick District would be the closest but have always been on the opposite side of our Munster Inter-League competitions.’
Now that the Kennedy Cup draw is complete, McQueen and the WCSL squad have less than 100 days to prepare for the most important SFAI Schoolboys football tournament on the FAI calendar.