Limerick District's Patrick Kirby fires a shot goalwards in their game with the Dundalk League at the 2016 Kennedy Cup
THE prestigious SFAI Umbro Kennedy Cup U-14 inter-league soccer bonanza kicks off at the University of Limerick today, Monday, at 4pm.
Three local teams, the Limerick District Schoolboy League (LDSL), the Limerick Desmond Schoolboy League and Limerick County Schoolboy League are among the 32 interleague teams taking part in the feast of football.
The SFAI U-14 Kennedy Cup, in existence since 1976, was originally played as a knockout competition with a small number of teams competing.
The LDSL won their first Kennedy Cup in 1980 when they beat the Dublin District SL in the final played in Dublin.The first SFAI Kennedy Cup Tournament in its current format was played in UCD in 1991.
The following year NUI, Galway hosted the tournament, and in 1993 the Schoolboy Football Association of Ireland in conjunction with the LDSL, held the Kennedy Cup Tournament in Limerick and as they say the rest is history.
With the exception of a couple of years when it took on a different format due to foot and mouth disease epidemic and then clashing with Ireland playing in a World Cup tournament, the Kennedy Cup has been held in UL ever since with the venue now regarded as its spiritual home.
The LDSL, in association with the SFAI, are now entering their 24th year hosting this very prestige Tournament which attracts huge numbers of supporters and parents from all parts of the country.
The LDSL won their second Kennedy Cup in its current format in the year 2000.
From the first game on Monday next, June 12, to the cup final on Friday, June 16, 96 games will be played with 10 grass pitches being used and the two all weather pitches on the North Campus on standby.
With 640 players, representing the 32 Inter League teams from all over Ireland, 192 team officials, 36 referees, 95 league personnel from the various leagues on hand throughout the week, St Johns Ambulance Brigade, along with members of the SFAI organising committee, in the region of 1,100 people from all parts of the country will converge on Limerick for five days of top class football with the cream of underage.
Approximately 950 bedrooms are taking up in the UL complex for the five days of the tournament as well as hotels and guesthouses in the area being booked out.
All the players, team and league officials, referees, are all accommodated in the UL Campus throughout the week.The Kennedy Cup Tournament attracts many football scouts from the top clubs in England and Scotland, as well as the Ireland underage International team Managers.
With the quality of player to select from the DDSL going for their 30th title will once again enter the competition as hot favourites, but several teams will fancy their chances of upsetting the odds.
Each team will play three group games before the pool winners emerge to stay in contention for the Kennedy Cup proper. The second, third, and fourth placed teams enter the Plate, Bowl, or Shield competitions.
The assistance from UL through the offices of Dave Mahedy, David Ward, Terri Culligan, and the ground staff who work tirelessly throughout the five days of competition, keep the pitches in immaculate condition.
All three Limerick sides begin their campaigns at 4pm today, Monday, with the Limerick District facing the Athlone League, with Limerick County, who are in the same group as the LDSL, taking on Wexford and the Desmond League opening up against the Carlow League.
LIMERICK COUNTY KENNEDY CUP: Finn Clancy (Holycross); Sean O'Neill (Kilmallock); Tiernan Hanley (Charleville); Diarmuid Looby (Cullen); Eoin McGrath (Kilfrush); Ben Murphy (Cullen); David Curtin (Herbertstown); Conor Hanlon (Charleville); Jay Ryan (Murroe); Kyle Tierney (Holycross); Stephen Walsh (Charleville); Seanie Herr (Charleville); Jake Quirke (Charleville); Zach McCarthy (Kilbehenny); Ciaran Kennedy (Cappamore); Paddy Kennedy (Galbally); Darragh O'Brien (Cullen); Harry Fox (Herbertstown); Noah Patterson (Holycross); Andrew Kearns (Herbertstown) Management: Head of Delegation: Dave Shanahan (Charleville); Manager: Ray Ryan (Murroe); Head Coach: Shane Ryan (Cappamore); Coach: Eoghan O'Donnell (Knockainey)
LIMERICK DESMOND KENNEDY CUP: Joey Rushe (AK Utd); Gary Sheehan (AK Utd); Conor Arthur (AK Utd); Jack O'Connor (AK Utd); Ethan Hurley (Newcastlewest AFC); Oisin Enright (Newcastlewest AFC) Leon Barry (Newcastlewest AFC); Jack O'Connor (Newcastlewest AFC); Ciarain O'Sullivan (Broadford Utd); Thomas Curran (Broadford Utd); Rob Szebeni (Broadford Utd); Kenny Lynch (Broadford Utd); Niall O'Connor (Shannonside); Jake Power (Shannonside); David O'Shaughnessy (Askeaton); Oran Kelly (Pallaskenry); Sean Ryan (Kilcoleman); Mike Molloy (Ballingarry); Jack Molloy (Ballingarry); Zach Behan (GB Rovers). Manager: John Fennessy (Shannonside); Coaches: Ed Gallagher (Ballysteen); Ray Lynch (Broadford Utd); Eunan McDaid (Shannonside); Goalkeeper Coach: Franny Walshe (AK United).
LIMERICK DISTRICT KENNEDY CUP: Elvis Uzondu Duruji (Regional Utd); Kai Joyce (Limerick FC); Ronan O’Dwyer (Caherdavin Celtic); Conor Keane (Fairview Rangers); Wassiou Ayawe (Limerick FC); Josh Quinlivan (Limerick FC); Gary O’Halloran (Limerick FC); Jake Prendergast (Limerick FC); Riain O’Connell (Fairview Rangers); Fionn O’Dwyer (Regional Utd); Josh Twomey (Fairview Rangers); Ger Quaid (Limerick FC); Eoin Guilfoyle (Newport); Josh Shinners (Limerick FC); Eoghan Burke (Aisling Annacotty); Cian Fitzgerald (Caherdavin Celtic); Adam Cummins (Aisling Annacotty); Andri Haxhiji (Limerick FC); Cillian O’Shea (Fairview Rangers); James Killian (Mungret Regional); Management: Head of Delegation: Paddy Murphy; Manager: Declan EarlsCoach; Sean Maloney; Coach: Declan Considine; Coach: Alan Mitchell; Physio; Jimmy McNamara.