Three Limerick sides kick-off Kennedy Cup glory bid at UL

Colm Kinsella at UL

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Colm Kinsella at UL

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ckinsella@limerickleader.ie

Three Limerick sides kick-off Kennedy Cup glory bid at UL

The Limerick Desmond Kennedy Cup squad celebrate their Plate final win over the North Dublin Schoolboys League at UL 12 months ago

THE prestigious SFAI New Balance 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 inter-league teams competing in the five-day feast of football which will feature some 96 matches.

The LDSL, twice winners of the Kennedy Cup, are in Group 4 alongside the Midlands, North Tipperary and West Waterford-East Cork Leagues.

District open their campaign with a fixture against local rivals North Tipp at 4pm today, Monday.

The Limerick Desmond Schoolboy League open their campaign against Wicklow today at 4pm.

Limerick County kick-off their quest for Kennedy Cup honours with a fixture against the Kildare League on Monday at 6pm.

With development work continuing at Maguire's Field, some fixtures during the opening two days of the tournament will be played on the North Campus all weather pitches.

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 and District Schoolboy League (DDSL) in the final in Dublin.

The first SFAI Kennedy Cup Tournament in its current format was played in UCD in 1991. The following year Galway University hosted, and in 1993 the Schoolboy Football Association of Ireland in conjunction with the LDSL held the Kennedy Cup in Limerick.

With the exception of a couple of years when it took on a different format for various reasons the Kennedy Cup has been held in the University of Limerick complex ever since.

The LDSL, in association with the SFAI are now entering their 24th year hosting this very prestigious 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.

With 640 players representing the 32 Inter-League teams from all over Ireland, 36 referees, 95 league personnel on hand throughout the week, St Johns Ambulance Brigade, along with members of the SFAI organising committee, in the region of 1,000 personnel in one way or another will be involved in the running of the Tournament.

Approximately 950 bedrooms are taking up in the University of Limerick complex as well as hotels and guest houses 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 attracts many football scouts from the top Clubs in England and Scotland, as well as the Ireland underage International team Managers. Over the years some of the finest players who went on to represent Ireland at senior International Football would have played in the Kennedy Cup.

With the quality of player to select from the holders DDSL will once again enter the competition as favourites, but with the likes of Cork, Waterford, Limerick, North Dublin, Kerry, and Kildare fancying their chances of success, this year's tournament could throw up a few surprises.

Each team will play three group games over Monday and Tuesday before the group winners emerge to stay in contention for the Kennedy Cup proper, while the second, third, and fourth placed teams enter the Plate, Bowl, or Shield competitions respectively.

Limerick Desmond Schoolboy League, who claimed an impressive fifth-placed finish 12 months ago after defeating the NDSL in a thrilling Plate final penalty shoot-out, are in Group 2 this time round along with the Wexford, Clare and Wicklow Schoolboy Leagues.

The Desmond League have reached at least the quarter-finals of the Kennedy Cup for the past three seasons. Desmond open their campaign against Wicklow today at 4pm.

Limerick County have been drawn in Group 7, along with Kildare, South Dublin and the West Cork Leagues.

Limerick County kick-off their quest for Kennedy Cup honours with a fixture against the Kildare League on Monday at 6pm.

Competition organisers would like to acknowledge the assistance received from UL through the offices of Dave Mahedy, David Ward, Terri Culligan, and especially the ground staff who work tirelessly throughout the five days of competition to keep the pitches in immaculate condition.

The final of the 2018 Kennedy Cup is due to be played on Friday next at 3.30pm.

The Dublin and District Schoolboy League have won five of the last six Kennedy Cups. The Kerry League claimed the coveted title in 2015.

Limerick District Schoolboy League Kennedy Cup squad 2018: Wayne Kearns (Caherdavin Celtic), Gavin Carraig (Corbally Utd), Cael Gaffney (Corbally Utd), Anthony Dabrynets (Summerville Rovers), Richkov Boevi (Fairview Rangers), Sean Rice (Fairview Rangers), Evan Torpey-Barry (Fairview Rangers), Mark Murphy (Aisling Annacotty), Cian Specht (Corbally Utd), Leon Kirrane (Aisling Annacotty), Darragh Murray (Aisling Annacotty), Daniel O’Donovan (Corbally Utd), Michael Curran (Regional Utd), Ciaran Coulter (Aisling Annacotty), Jamie Hogan (Fairview Rangers), Sean Whelan (Fairview Rangers), Marcus Hogan (Corbally Utd), Daniel Quaid (Regional Utd), Stephen Kiely (Aisling Annacotty), Joshua McCarthy-Burbage.

Management Team: Head of Delegation: Kenneth O’Brien; Manager: Gary Manning, Coach: Marcus Grant; Coach: Willie Boland; Coach: Declan Earls; LDSL: Stephen Kelly.

Limerick County Schoolboy League Kennedy Cup squad 2018: Kian Smith (Charleville), Owen O’Sullivan (Galbally), Eoin O’Connor (Charleville), Euan Dillon (Charleville), Euan Sheridan (Murroe), Noah Patterson (Holycross), Paddy Kennedy (Galbally), Darragh O’Brien (Lattin-Cullen), John English (Galbally), Killian Aherne (Castle), Cathal O’Mahoney (Galbally), Harry Fox (Herbertstown), Matt McCormack (Charleville), Dion Curtin (Charleville), Michael Ryan (Cappamore), Sean Carroll (Charleville), Jake McNamara (Kilfrush), Connor Finn (Kilfrush), Killian Quaid (Murroe), Billy Daly (Cappamore).

Management Team: Greg Foley (Murroe), John Foley (Murroe), Ray Ryan (Newport), Tim Rainsford (Murroe), Declan O’Mara (Shannon).

Limerick Desmond Schoolboy League Kennedy Cup squad 2018: Ethan Kirwan (Newcastlewest Town), TJ Tierney (Granagh Utd), Cian O’Carroll (Granagh Utd), Oisin Woulfe (Abbeyfeale Utd), Leon Madigan (Broadford Utd), Eoin Mulvihill (Kildimo), Emmet Rigter (Newcastlewest Town), Evan Guinane (Shannonside), Lorcan Murphy (Kilcolman Rovers), Lee Foley (Broadford Utd), Kieran O’Connell (Newcastlewest Town), Shane O’Sullivan (AK Utd), Oisin Collins (Newcastlewest Town), Paudie Murphy (Granagh Utd), Jack Fitzgibbon (Granagh Utd), Daire O’Shea (Athea), Adam Hickey (Rathkeale), Ajay Behan (GB Rovers), Dean Quaid (Kilcolman Rovers), Mark Kelly (Broadford Utd).

Management Team: Head of Delegation: Kevin Clifford; Manager: Kevin Clifford; Coach: Sean Deane; GK Coach: Liam Quaid; Strength and Conditioning: Anne-Marie Molyneaux; Physio: Sandy Corrigan.