Bobby Smith Cup: Clondalkin & Carrigaline meet in final
Clondalkin head coach Harry Kenny will look for the Dublin outfit to make home advantage tell against their counterparts from Cork, who are led by former Cork City star Mick Conroy.
The FAI in partnership with a number of Education and Training Boards throughout the country and supported by the European Social Fund operates Local Training Initiatives that provide a unique blend of educational and football development for talented young footballers. Bobby Smith had many years involvement in the ETB centres.
Mick Conroy is expecting a tough test in Bray but believes his players have shown their qualities this year.
“We’ve two from Cobh Ramblers - Charlie Fleming and Ben O’Riordan RCB - and Cabinteely’s Evan Galvin in our squad. They’ve shown themselves to be good young players with a bit to learn but they’re in good environments to learn both at their clubs and in the centre,” he explained.
“We hope we can do ourselves justice tomorrow. Our squad isn’t as strong as it was throughout the qualifying process for a number of reasons. We’ve one or two injured plus we lost two or three players who secured full-time employment.
“We had a draw against Limerick in the group stages then beat the other two sides in Cork then the decider in the group was up in Limerick and that was probably out best performance of the season as we won 3-1. We played Cabra in the semi-final and progressed to the final for the second time.
“We didn’t play as well as we could last time but these players have worked hard to get to here. We’ll enjoy the experience.
“We’ve seen their progression over the year. The three SSE Airtricity League players have certainly improved individually and as part of their units. I’m happy with how we’ve developed.
“Eric Grimes and Corey Galvin aren’t available to us anymore but that’s what happens with these courses. Adam O’Sullivan from Cork City U19s has had a good season and is close to making his debut with John Caulfield’s side.
“I’m expecting a tough game. Clondalkin beat Limerick in the semi-finals and it was a tight game I understand so I expect a similar situation tomorrow. It’s good for the boys to get to a final. It keeps the interest there for those who aren’t playing League level.”
Clondalkin boss Harry Kenny has a squad made up of mostly junior and intermediate players with Shelbourne U19s defender Dean Longhi their best known player.
“We’re delighted with how they’ve done. They may be players from the junior ranks but they’ve good morale and they love their football,” he said.
“We’ve four girls - Roma McLaughlin, Niamh Prior, Chloe Maloney and Amanda McQuillan - on the course too and they add to the atmosphere in the group. They’ll be there cheering the lads on tomorrow.
“Eoin Devereux has got goals for us. He’s quick. He plays for Sacred Heart. Claudio Da Silva is a Portugusee player who is training with Athlone Town at the moment and he’s done well.
“We finished second in the group to Cabra then we beat Limerick 1-0 down there in the semi-final so we were thrilled with that.
“I’d say it’ll be first time in a National League ground for some of them. They’ll love the occasion.
“You can see how much they’ve developed over the year, technically and tactically. They are working away every day. Thomas Heffernan was the coach and he moved on to become a Development Office and Jason McGuinness has been great with them since he came on board.”
Kenny has also been very pleased with how his course participants have performed in the classroom as well as on the pitch.
“We got 19 FETAC Major awards which was a great achievement. They’re looking to go on to IT level now. They’ve been a great group on and off the pitch,” he added.