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  • Northside West

New Northside strike force

Thursday, 14th December, 2017 6:00pm
New Northside strike force

It’s hoped the new partnership will develop players, possibly up to international level like Stephen Ward, Robbie Brady and Jeff Hendrick.

New Northside strike force

It’s hoped the new partnership will develop players, possibly up to international level like Stephen Ward, Robbie Brady and Jeff Hendrick.

BOHEMIAN FC and St Kevin's Boys FC have announced an exclusive partnership to provide a development pathway from elite schoolboy football through to senior level.

This year's inaugural SSE Airtricity U15 League saw Bohemians and St Kevin's enter separate teams but under a new five-year agreement, the clubs will enter a joint team when the 2018 season kicks off in March.

The arrangement will be extended to U13 level when the new SSE Airtricity U13 League commences in March 2019.

The new partnership brings together the League of Ireland's oldest club and the country's most famous schoolboy club. 

Both have a proud tradition of nurturing talent. And Ireland's most recent senior international squads are a testament to that. 

They featured two former Bohs players in Stephen Ward and Matt Doherty and the established former St Kevin's duo of Robbie Brady and Jeff Hendrick.

The new arrangement will add to the strides Bohs' existing underage elite teams have made in recent years - Graham Lawlor's U19s won the SSE Airtricity U19 League last month, while Jimmy Mowlds' U17s finished as runners-up in theirs. 

The senior team has reaped the benefits of these successes with nine graduates of Bohs underage sides being handed first-team debuts in various competitions over the course of the 2017 season.

Bohemians Youth Development Officer Ian Morris said: "The youth section has grown steadily and we feel we now have very strong foundations in place.

“This arrangement with St Kevin's will complement those and we're looking forward to it."

St Kevin's Director of Football Ken Donohoe added: "This is an opportunity to present a defined pathway for coaches and elite players from the youngest age groups right through to League of Ireland football and beyond, using the existing expertise within both clubs. 

"It will create opportunities for players from both clubs to maximise their potential in a highly professional and competitive environment."

Bohemians first-team manager Keith Long believes the new development is a "statement of intent" that can only benefit both parties.

"We're two elite clubs operating out of the Northside of Dublin,” he said.

“We both have a reputation for bringing talent through, so the potential is clear.

"We have the same vision and we believe we can work really well together.

“From a footballing point of view, this deal makes sense for both of us. 

"You only have to look at the calibre of player St Kevin's have produced to see that. It's a statement of intent from both clubs."

The deal brings an end to Bohemians' previous arrangement with the North Dublin Schoolboy League.

Bohemian FC President Chris Brien thanked Tony Gains and the NDSL for all their support and assistance over the last six years. 

"It has been a very successful partnership, however, the board of Bohemian FC decided it was time for a new initiative and I look forward to a new chapter for our elite section,” he said.

"I believe the partnership between the two clubs will help move both of us to a new level."

St Kevin’s FC Chairman Michael O’Callaghan explained why his club entered the partnership.

“We did not want to accept a supporting role where we would have a loose association with a senior club,” he said.

“We wanted to be as fully involved as possible in the running, coaching and development of the young players in the national leagues.”

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here