Schoolboys League chairman sad to see top soccer players depart for Cork City

Schoolboys League chairman sad to see top soccer players depart for Cork City
Bridie Miller, mother of Liam Miller, presenting the cup to Cork SL captain Matthew Moore and his team-mates following the U13 SFAI Subway Liam Miller Cup final. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

PETER CONNOLLY believes seeing Cork’s U13 and U15 sides claim All-Ireland titles on the same day was one of the best days he has experienced during his tenure as chairman of the Cork Schoolboys League.

Last weekend in Mullingar, the U13s defeated the Dublin District Schoolboys League 2-1 in their Subway Championship National final before the U15s beat Donegal 3-0 to claim their own silverware.

“It was a great weekend for Cork Schoolboys League football,” Connolly told The Echo.

“The U13s beat DDSL for the second year in a row which was brilliant and the U15s then went on to beat Donegal which was another great achievement. We must praise the managers Robbie O’Sullivan, Cian Murphy, and Marcus O’Reilly for what they have done for those teams.”

To add to the occasion for the U13s, the trophy is named after the late, great Liam Miller, and his mother Bridie was on hand to present it.

Danny Miskella holds up the ball in the U13 SFAI Subway Liam Miller Cup National Championship final win over DDSL. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Danny Miskella holds up the ball in the U13 SFAI Subway Liam Miller Cup National Championship final win over DDSL. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

“Being truthful, I always said the U13s were one of the most talented bunch of players that we ever had coming through. They were a serious team, a serious team with lots of great players.

Seán Richmond of Cork SL is tackled by Conor Lougheed of DDSL during the U13 SFAI Subway Liam Miller Cup National Championship final. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Seán Richmond of Cork SL is tackled by Conor Lougheed of DDSL during the U13 SFAI Subway Liam Miller Cup National Championship final. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

“And the U15s, they were beaten in the U12 final and also the U13 final although they won the bowl in Limerick.

“When we re-grouped in November, we spoke to them and they all bought into it. We said with belief and positivity we will get there and that is what they have done.

“They were one of the best groups of people that I was ever involved with. They were fantastic and they got their just rewards in the end but I always knew there was an All-Ireland title in them and I’m delighted they got it.

“As a chairman, and I get a bit passionate over it, it was a fantastic day. It was one of the highlights for me during my time.

“The only thing that could ever top it is if we win the Kennedy Cup. But we’re not finished this year yet as we are hoping for more success with the U12s and U16s winning their All-Irelands as well.”

It wasn’t all smiles on the day as the realisation soon hit that a host of players from both squads will be moving on from the team.

The core of that incredible U13 crop will be heading to Cork City, whose season starts at the end of March, while a few members of the U15s will be heading in the same direction or else to Cobh Ramblers.

Darragh O'Shea of Cork SL drives towards the ball in the U15 SFAI Subway National Championship final. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Darragh O'Shea of Cork SL drives towards the ball in the U15 SFAI Subway National Championship final. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

“That was the only sad thing that came out of it, we are losing the majority of that team to Cork City, but we can’t do anything about that,” added Connolly.

“It’s the parents’ decision. They all think that their kids are going to be the next Roy Keane, so that’s why they’re moving on.

“They are after beating the DDSL at U12s and U13s so they are after winning two Munsters and two All-Irelands, back-to-back.

“The next aim for them would have been to win the Kennedy Cup but what can we do? We will just have to look in our own league and pull a team together, but we wish the players all the best.”

Darragh Bowdren of Cork SL takes on Sam White of Donegal during the U15 SFAI Subway final. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Darragh Bowdren of Cork SL takes on Sam White of Donegal during the U15 SFAI Subway final. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

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