As the dust settles on another SSE Airtricity League of Ireland season, stpatsfc.com has been reflecting on a league title winning year for our U17 team.
The young reds finished top of the U17 Northern Elite Division with 17 wins, 2 draws and just 1 defeat from their 20 league matches.
They then went on the win the overall League Title play-offs, beating Shamrock Rovers via a penalty shootout win in the Quarter-finals, Waterford United (3-2) in the semi-finals and then UCD (2-1) in the final to confirm themselves as the best team in the country.
The Saints were so close to a double, but unfortunately lost 2-0 to Bohemians in the Mark Farren Cup final.
Manager Jamie Moore, Captain Paul Cleary and midfielder Luke Nolan have all been looking back on a fantastic 2016 - first up in our series of interviews is manager Jamie Moore, who in reflection admitted that the year had been great for players and management on different levels.
"Yeah it was a brilliant season for us, apart from winning the league and getting to the cup final, the most pleasing aspect for me for the football that we played. We played the best football in the country, and I think that's been mentioned and recognised by numerous people over the season.
"We also had a number of players represent Ireland and the different age levels, most recently Brian Maher, Cian Lee and Luke Nolan in the U17 UEFA Championship qualifiers and the boys have played and trained with a smile on their faces all year, so all in all it was a good year's work."
Moore charge of the U17s in 2015 and led them to the league final last season, an unfortunate 3-2 defeat to Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght Stadium when weather conditions played a major part in the Hoops getting the better of the Saints on the night. The manager says the disappointment did not add any extra motivation this season.
"We sat the players down back in January and asked them to come up with their own aims and ambitions for the season, both from a personal and collective point of view. They wanted to win every game, win every trophy, score the most goals, concede the least and play the best football.
"I think we achieved almost all of the above, we lost just one game in the regular league season and the cup final to Bohs, but apart from that they did everything else they said they wanted to do.
"The main object for myself and the coaches is that the players perform in every session and every game, that's probably my most used word with them. They all want to become professional footballers and we feel we provide the best environment for them to do that, it's then up to them to do the rest. We won't put a pressure on them to win, but we put massive pressure on them to perform and to try to be at their best every time they are in with us, when you combine that with having top class players and top class facilities at ALSAA, it gives you a good chance of winning."
Looking ahead to 2017, Moore outlined that the aims of the squad was for more of the same and that the off-field impact of several parties had a huge helping hand throughout the season.
I've thanked everyone privately but it's right to do it here too. To the players, the staff, Darragh O'Reilly, Sean Gahan, Shane O'Kelly, Tom Lattimore and Christy O'Neill, Liam Buckley, Dave Campbell, Danny Miller and Ger O'Brien from our first team, Anthony Delaney our General Manager, Dave and Anto the ground-staff in Richmond, the players, parents, bus drivers, hotel staff and everyone else who has helped us make a success of the project, thank you very much.
"The boys have some well deserved time off now but myself and the staff are working hard behind the scenes to make sure season 2017 is even bigger and better than 2016!"
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