Dublin District Schoolboy League were the big winners at the annual SFAI Kennedy Cup competition at the University of Limerick last week as they secured their 37th title in the U-14 inter-county competition following a 2-0 victory over a gallant Mayo side in the final.
Since the turn of the millennium, the Dublin side have won the competition a staggering 16 times as the sheer number of players to choose from is evident. The front three of DDSL are the starting strikers for the national team and they did not concede a goal along their way to winning the competition.
There were three Limerick sides representing their respective leagues in this year’s competition. Limerick County, Desmond and District Schoolboy Leagues took part with mixed results. Limerick District missed out on a place in the Cup quarter-finals due to a 0-0 draw with North Dublin Schoolboy League in their final group game. Noel O’Connor’s men needed a victory to reach the latter stages and had to contest the Kennedy Cup Bowl following their second place finish.
The competition started brightly for the District League with a 3-2 win over Roscommon with goals from Nathan O’Shea (x2) and Jai McNamara. Two 0-0 draws with both West Cork and North Dublin were to follow before the 1-0 win over South Belfast Youth League. In a highly entertaining semi-final, a well deserved 2-1 win over Midlands sent them to a Bowl final. Two goals from Stephen Young including a superb second goal sealed the win.
In the final against Cork Schoolboy League, Limerick District suffered a 2-1 defeat. Two goals from Harvey Skieters put Cork two goals ahead but a late header from Darren Nwakwo ensured a nervy finish although Cork managed to hold onto the lead and win the Bowl.
Limerick players and management were awarded runners up medals and as a result of reaching the final, finished 10th in the overall rankings at the 2109 Kennedy Cup.
Limerick Desmond and County Schoolboy Leagues had disappointing group campaigns with both finishing bottom of their respective groups. Desmond started brightly with a 1-1 draw with Silgo-Leitrim but finished the Kennedy Cup Trophy with a defeat to rivals Limerick County.
County began the tournament with a 0-2 defeat Kerry before losing on a repeat scoreline to Kildare the following day. They opened their account in a 3-1 defeat to Clare but had a chance to redeem themselves in the Kennedy Cup Trophy.
Jake McNamara-Leamy stole the show on the day with a superb long range strike to see off North Easten Counties in the quarter-final. Facing Limerick Desmond in an all-Limerick derby, another 1-0 win was enough to send them to the final. County overcame West Waterford East Cork in a game they totally dominated with strike partners Hugh Murnane and McNamara-Leamy grabbing the goals to clinch the Kennedy Cup Trophy much to the delight of the coaches and supporters in attendance.
It was another hugely successful Kennedy Cup tournament staged in UL with hundreds in attendance on a daily basis. The grass pitches were in superb condition and the new astroturf pitches added a new challenge for the young players. It was evident as to why the Kennedy Cup has been on at the University since 1993. The quality of football on show across the board was of a high quality to entertain the large attendance. The addition of South Belfast Youth League was a very welcome one this year also.
The coverage of the Kennedy Cup has improved dramatically in recent seasons and Eamon Scott of Striker Online was instrumental. There were live streams of games on Facebook as well as a goal of the day competition at the end of each round of games.