THE Mayo Schoolboys League Under 14 side will participate in the annual Kennedy Cup tournament at the University of Limerick over the coming days.
One of the most prestigious underage tournaments in Europe, the competition – taking place from tomorrow (Tuesday) until Saturday (June 15) – includes 31 teams from the Republic of Ireland along with the South Belfast Youth League, who will take part for the first time.
Mayo will play in Group 4, and will face stiff competition by way of the Midlands Schoolboys League, Dundalk Schoolboys League and North Eastern Counties Schoolboys League.
The squad have been busy preparing for the tournament since last September, when they returned after their summer break. With two training sessions a week over recent months and competitive challenge games against the likes of Donegal, Galway, Sligo/Leitrim, Carlow and more, there is an air of optimism and excitement for the challenges that lay ahead.
Seven clubs are represented on the 20-man panel, showcasing the excellent work being done across the county at grassroots level. Seven players hail from a talented Westport United team, who recently reached the last four of the SFAI Skechers National Cup, along with four players from Castlebar Celtic, three players from Claremorris AFC, two apiece from Ballina Town and Ballyheane, with one from both Straide & Foxford United and Kiltimagh/Knock United.
The squad recently travelled to the University of Limerick to participate in two challenges games against Clare and Limerick Desmond, while also doing a walking tour of the campus to take in their surroundings ahead of the week long tournament.
Coached by Trevor Ruane, Nigel Naughton and Mark Howley, Mayo will take on the Midlands in their opening game tomorrow before two games on Wednesday (June 12) against Dundalk and NEC respectively. Their group placement will then determine their schedule for the rest of the week, as well as their potential final placement at the end of the tournament.