- Monday September 5th, 2016 @ 10:53
U17s Crowned Champions!
The St Patrick's Athletic U17's are the SSE Airtricity League Northern Elite Division champions having won the title with two games to spare.
Sunday's 11-2 win over Dundalk moved the Saints ten points clear of Bohemians with just three games left to play.
Midfielder John Martin scored SEVEN goals, with Luke Heeney, Josh Hogan, Neill Byrne and Mark Kelly getting the others.
The lads have scored an incredible 62 goals in their 18 league games, an average of 3.5 goals per game, with John Martin bagging 20 of them.
"It was obviously a very special day for me, scoring seven goals is an amazing feeling and not something I expect will happen too often either!" Martin told stpatsfc.com. "The day was made even better by the fact we've won the Northern League so it was a great day overall on a personal and collective level."
John, who played his schoolboy career with Belvedere, was St. Pats U17 Player Of The Year last season, and has continued that form into this campaign, so how did he actually scored seven times in one game.
"It's all about being in the right place at the right time for some of the goals, others were from some great passes by my teammates, who I have to give praise to for contributing to my goals today, and one or two were nice individual goals too."
He curled his first goal into the top corner from just outside the box with his left foot.
"I always try and get myself into scoring positions and when the chance comes I just try stay calm and hit the target, thankfully I hit the back of the net with almost every shot today.
The Saints will host Sligo Rovers in the Mark Farren Cup Semi-Finals in Richmond Park on Sunday September 25th at 2pm, play Longford and Shels in the league either side of that, and subsequently have the league play-off quarter-final. Martin admitted it will be a busy few week for the Saints.
"We have an exciting few weeks ahead of course. We have to get today's achievement out of our heads when we are back training on Tuesday and really start to focus on the next game and the game after that which is Longford in the league."
"The semi-final against Sligo is going to be a great game, we have beaten them twice this season but they always put it up to is when we meet so we're really looking forward to playing in Richmond and coming away with a result we hope."
Saints U17 Manager Jamie Moore also paid tribute to Martin after his goal-fest.
"Firstly, to score eleven goals in an Elite Division match as a team is a fantastic thing to do, we've played Dundalk now three teams this season and scored 23 goals which is fairly incredible."
"John was our player of the year last year and is proving that he is one of the best players in the country, we are still working to make him and all of the lads better, he's been the talk of the town and social media since Sunday and rightfully so, but now he's even more one everyone's radar and needs to keep it going."
Jamie was also delighted to win the league, but knows there's plenty more to do.
"We asked the players to write down their aims at the start of the season. Aim one was to win the league as quickly as possible, and they've done that with two games to spare so I'm really happy for the lads to have done that."
"As John says, it's not happened by accident and we have all put in a massive amount of work to achieve the first aim, but now we want to make the cup final by beating Sligo and get into the league semi-finals too if we can."
"I think we have found a good combination between development and winning, in my opinion we have the best players, so if they apply themselves, which they do every week, and we can help them with little bits here and there, it means we win most weeks."
"My job as the manager is to have them ready for the U19s, the first team, international teams, England etc, now and in the future, and if we can win some trophies along the way, great, but it's where the players are in three, four, five years' time that matters to me, and the them I'm sure."
The Saints have next weekend off and host Longford Town on Sunday September 18th at 2pm in either Richmond Park or IT Blanchardstown, venue to be confirmed closer to the time.