- Friday October 27th, 2023 @ 11:25
U14s And U15s Ready For FAI Cup Finals
Our Saints Academy U14s and U15s are all set for their LOI Academy FAI Cup Finals this Sunday, with both sides set to face Shamrock Rovers at Athlone Town Stadium.
The U14s will kick things off at 12pm in the Eddie Wallace Cup Final with the U15s following that up at 3pm in the Michael Hayes Final.
Admission to Athlone Town Stadium is €5 for adults, with Under 16s going free, for those not heading to the finals, you can watch them for free on LOITV.
The Eddie Wallace Cup began as a group stage followed by 1/4 finals and semi-finals and our U14s have had a perfect six wins from six so far, conceding just one goal in that run and scoring 25.
They started with a 6-1 win away to Galway United with Niall Sullivan (2), David Negsi, Feranmi Makinwa, Finn Duffy and Sammy Ogungbe on target before three 3-0 wins in a row, at home to Cork City and Treaty United and away to Athlone Town to finish the group phase.
The Saints were drawn at home in both of their knockout games, they saw a 6-0 victory against Derry City in the last eight, Duffy (2), Ryan Sheridan (2), Ngesi and Ibrahim ElSharkawy getting the goals before a 4-0 win versus Bray Wanderers (Ogungbe (2), Duffy, Josh O'Connor) to secure a place in the final against Shamrock Rovers.
Manager Mark Connolly, Coach Phil Power and the squad are looking forward to the final, Connolly said:
"We're really looking forward to the day.
The boys were asked at the start of the season to set individual and team targets and pretty much all said they wanted to win the cup this season.
The whole year has been a great introduction to Academy football and the National League for the boys and hopefully it's just the first step for them all going onto bigger and better things down the road.
We've seemed to up it a level or two in the Cup games leading to the Final and based on how we've trained the past 2 weeks, I'd be hopeful there's even more to come from the boys this Sunday.
It'll be a fantastic experience for them all and we hope they enjoy the whole build up and experience on the day but we have told them this is all part of their development no matter what the result.
Rovers are a top side so it'll be a really competitive game with two great teams and some really talented individuals on both sides.
Hopefully our game can be the start of a great day for the club followed by the 15s afterwards."
St Patrick's Athletic against Shamrock Rovers in the U14 Eddie Wallace FAI Cup Final will kick-off at 12pm.
It's a big day in the Midlands, as our U15s also face The Hoops straight afterwards at 3pm in the Michael Hayes FAI Cup final.
Having got a bye in the First Round, the lads began their cup campaign with a 6-1 victory at home to Athlone Town, Sam Rooney scored four that day with Max McLaughlin and Kevin Croituro also on target, before a hard fought 2-0 victory away to Waterford in the 1/4 finals, Harry Leonard's goal and a Rooney penalty sealed their path to the semi-finals.
That last four meeting with Bray Wanderers was a thriller at Richmond Park, with the Young Saints coming out on top in a seven goal thriller, 4-3!! Rooney, Leonard, McLaughlin and Billy Canny hit the back of the net in Inchicore to help their side into the decider.
Coaches Ciaran Creagh, Ian Cully, Mick Coakley and Manager Alan Brady can't wait for Sunday, Brady said:
"We're really looking forward to the final on Sunday, it should be a great day with both ourselves and the U14s in the finals.
We are playing one of our main rivals, ourselves and Shamrock Rovers have pushed each other all the way in the league so far and we've had some great matches this season, with the title race still on, and now we face each other in the Michael Hayes Cup Final.
It will be a great occasion and a proud moment for all of our players, playing in a National Final and a great stadium in front of the families and friends, who'll be there to support them.
The challenge for the players is the showcase all of the hard work they've put into the season so far, with all of their training sessions, gym sessions, video analysis meetings and all of the games they've played and dedication they've shown.
We want to put on a good performance against Rovers and give it everything we have and I'm sure the players will do that, hopefully it's a great occasion."
St Patrick's Athletic against Shamrock Rovers in the U15 Michael Hayes FAI Cup Final will kick-off at 3pm.
Academy Manager Ger O'Brien added:
"Everyone at the club and in the Academy would like to wish both teams well in their finals, they've prepared well and are ready to go!
St Patrick's Athletic and Shamrock Rovers have a great rivalry, not just at first-team level, but also at Academy level, with lots of top players and coaches at both clubs, and that rivalry continues on Sunday in the finals.
Our U14s and U15s have both had excellent seasons and have played some brilliant football, both are in these finals and are competing at the top end of the league tables as well which is fantastic.
The players and their families have put in a huge amount of work and effort over the last 10 months or so, and their reward in the opportunity to play in, and hopefully win, a cup final.
We know there will be big crowds in Athlone to support both teams, including a lot of the coaches and volunteers who've helped develop the lads at their schoolboy clubs.
For those who can't make it, it's fantastic that the matches will be shown live, and for free, on LOITV.
Everyone in our Academy has been working very hard to give our players the best environment possible to develop and we've had a lot of players progress from our Academy sides right through to the first team and further afield, and ultimately that is the main objective.
We see the likes of Jamie Lennon, Kian Leavy, Ben McCormack, Tommy Lonergan, Adam Murphy, Sam Curtis and Mason Melia all making a real impact and playing lots of minutes for the First Team, competing at the top end of the Premier Division and getting ready for their own Cup Final at The Aviava.
All of those players have come through our Academy, while a number of our U19s have also been in first team squads this season and train regularly with them.
Rhys Bartley made his senior debut earlier this season, with Anto Dodd, James Byrne and Darius Lipsiuc are among some of our other Academy players who've been in squads this season, hopefully some of our U14s and U15s will follow in their footsteps in the coming years.
Others have developed in our Academy and First Team and moved on to progress their careers abroad and have experience and playing in and winning underage finals.
We've had good luck messages from players like Josh Keeley (Tottenham), James Abankwah (Charton), Luke McNally (Stoke City), Darragh Burns (MK Dons) and senior Ireland international Jamie McGrath (Aberdeen), all of those players played in, and won big Academy finals, and it's great for our next crop to have the opportunity to do the same.
Our U17s have a big league semi-final in Cobh this Saturday while our U19s are right in the hunt for the league title with three games to so, they play Cobh on Sunday, so we're hoping for a big couple of weeks."
First Team Manager Jon Daly, who is getting ready for his own FAI Cup final at The Aviva Stadium in two weeks, said:"I'd like to congratulate both teams on making it to the finals, it's an brilliant achievement and I'd like to wish the U14s and the U15s the best of luck against Shamrock Rovers, hopefully both teams get the job done."
Finally, Club Captain Joe Redmond said: From myself and all of the First Team squad, all the best to both teams in the finals on Sunday, I'm looking forward to getting down to Athlone and seeing them play and of course we are hoping for two wins. The main thing is for both teams to enjoy the day and the games and to give it their best for themselves, their friends and family and the club, they've done brilliantly to get this far and hopefully they'll be bringing two trophies back to Richmond with them on the bus."