Some of Sligo Rovers’ U15 players will face a number of former team-mates when the Bit O’ Red take on the Mayo Schoolboy League in the third game in this year’s National U15 League tomorrow.
Rovers, who’ve won their opening two fixtures, travel to Milebush in Castlebar with a squad which will contain nine former Mayo Schoolboy players.
The Mayo League, who have won one and lost one of their two games so far, are one of four non-Airtricity League teams accepted into the U15 League alongside Kerry, Monaghan-Cavan and St. Kevin’s Boys from Dublin.
Tomorrow’s game is at 2pm, while Finn Harps are away to Longford Town on Sunday at the same time.
Rovers’ U19 and U17 sides are not in action this weekend, but Harps’ U19s host Derry City in Finn Park at 2pm tomorrow, and the U19s travel to Wilton Park to face Derry at the same time.
Mayo U15 manager Brendan Kenny admits the side are ‘buzzing’ for the game and believes the team have recovered brilliantly from losing nine players before the start of the season.
Kenny said: “There is a bit of a buzz about the place. The players are really looking forward to it, obviously there is no pressure on us but a lot of mates will be playing against each other.
“The banter has been good between the two sides all week, I’m sure they’ll be winding each other up and it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.
“What happened was before it was announced that the Mayo Schoolboy League would be in the national league, a lot of players went down to Sligo for the trials. By the time it was announced that we were in the league, the players had already signed for Sligo.
“There is a real plus though as it’s given other lads a chance and they’ve definitely taken it so far. There’s been no pressure on the players but to beat Monaghan on the opening day was great, we weren’t expecting that. We played a strong Derry side and more than matched them for large parts of the game.”
The country has plenty of representation within the SSE Airtricity League with the likes of Sligo Rovers goalkeeper Michael Schlingermann, Shamrock Rovers midfielder Ryan Connolly, Galway United midfielder David Cawley and former Pats goalkeeper Conor O’Mahony hailing from the county.
Kenny admitted they had to quickly ‘turn it around’ when they were accepted into the league but believes it is a great move to see Mayo represented in the under-age national league structure.
He added: “It was difficult because we had only a short amount of time so we had to turn it around. We had a couple of trial days and then got the players in but you’re having to make the decisions fairly quick.
“We got a friendly against Galway which we only lost 1-0 and then we played a local team which we won fairly convincingly so it wasn’t the ideal preparations. But I think it has helped us in a way as we’ve put no pressure on the players and they’ve really enjoyed that, and I think it has helped them play better.
“I think the fact we’re in the league is brilliant for the game. There is definitely talent in Mayo and the current players in the league, the likes of Ryan Connolly and John Mountney, show that.
“It’s great that the players are getting exposure to the national level earlier as that will only help them in their development and especially seeing that it is a locally-based team. We’re looking to produce more players to go on and have careers, and hopefully, at the end of the day produce an international player.”
SSE Airtricity League U19 Northern Division
02/09 – Bohemians v St. Patrick’s Athletic, Dalymount Park, 12pm
02/09 – Finn Harps v Derry City, Finn Park, 2pm
02/09 – Drogheda United v Athlone Town, United Park, 2pm
02/09 – Longford Town v Dundalk, City Calling Stadium, 2pm
02/09 – Monaghan-Cavan FP v Shelbourne, Gortakeegan, 2pm
SSE Airtricity League U19 Southern Division
02/09 – Shamrock Rovers v Cork City, Tallaght Stadium, 2pm
SSE Airtricity League U17 Northern Division
02/09 – Derry City v Finn Harps, Wilton Park, 2pm
02/09 – Athlone Town v Drogheda United, Lisseywollen, 2pm
02/09 – Shelbourne v Monaghan-Cavan FP, AUL, 2pm
03/09 – Dundalk v Longford Town, Oriel Park, 2pm
06/09 – St. Patrick’s Athletic v Bohemians, Richmond Park, 7.30pm
SSE Airtricity League U17 Southern Division
02/09 – Waterford v Cobh Ramblers, Regional Sports Centre, 2pm
02/09 – Galway United v Limerick, East United, 2pm
03/09 – Cork City v Shamrock Rovers, Bishopstown, 2pm
03/09 – Kerry v Wexford, Mounthawk Park, 2pm
03/09 – UCD v Cabinteely, Ballyowen Park, 2pm
SSE Airtricity U15 National League
02/09 – Mayo v Sligo Rovers, Milebush, 2pm
03/09 – Longford Town v Finn Harps, City Calling Stadium, 2pm
02/09 – Bray Wanderers v Galway United, The Academy, 2pm
02/09 – UCD v Athlone Town, Marley Park, 2pm
03/09 – Shamrock Rovers v St. Kevin’s Boys, 3pm
03/09 – Cobh Ramblers v Waterford, St. Colman’s Park, 2pm
03/09 – Limerick v Kerry, UL, 2pm
03/09 – Wexford v Cork City, Ferrycarrig Park, 2pm
02/09 – Shelbourne v Drogheda United, AUL, 12pm
02/09 – Cabinteely v St. Patrick’s Athletic, AUL, 2pm