Drogheda United talks to Rory Kerr
FOCUS ON YOUTH

DROGHEDA UNITED WILL SHORTLY HAVE TRIALS FOR OUR U-17 & U-19 TEAMS FOR THE FORTHCOMING SEASON. THIS WEEK RORY KERR EXPLAINS HOW PLAYERS FROM ACROSS THE NORTH EAST REGION ARE PROGRESSING WITH THE YOUTHS.

Drogheda Boys have been the feeder club for Drogheda United for a good while now. How are the youngsters progressing at the moment?
We are very happy with the relationship between the two clubs. We have a lot of good players coming through. For example eleven players came through to our U-17s from Drogheda Boys U-16s this past season. The motto between the two clubs is “UNITED WITH BOYS TO BECOME ONE DROGHEDA”.

How does the link work between the two clubs?
We have regular contact with people like Ray Mills, Derek Hallinan & Gez Kirwan and look forward to working with re-appointed Chairman, Martin McKenna. Our first goal together is to provide a pathway for the players, progressing to play at a higher level, from the U-8s all the way up to the U-17s, U-19s, and hopefully on to the first team.

Do you get involved with coaching any of the Drogheda Boys teams?
Well we join up to do a session together. I might do the first part and two others would take the middle and final parts. That way we can learn from each other. We try to develop the 3 T’s –Temperament, Technique and Talent of each player so that he becomes an independent and confident player within the team.

Your 17s team had a good year last season.
Yes we had five of our team that made the DDSL representative team-Keith Boyle, Seán Challenger, Conor O’Keefe ,Shane Finnegan & Stephen Watters. We were Runners-Up in the League Cup final and came fourth in the league. Keeper Shane Finnegan has just been called up to the Leinster Youths team going to Germany next month.

How did the 18s do last season?
The 18s reached the semi-finals of two Cup competitions, the League Cup and the prestigious FAI Youths Cup (All-Ireland competition).Three of the youths have been called up to the first team already this season- Ger Sweetman, Jack Kierans and Seán O’Rourke while Darragh Mac Namara, Stephen Campbell & Ronan McEnteggart had come through previously.

Mick Cooke and Robbie Horgan have shown a great interest in our youths teams in the short time they are here.
Yes both have been very encouraging. Mick has been all over the place watching our youth teams! He’s been to lots of our games and even travelled as far as Cork to see us play in the Cup! We are made to feel very much part of the first team’s plans for the future.

They both have been very supportive in attending local underage events such as the Presentations of the Drogheda Schoolchildren’s League, the FAI Schools 5-a-side (Meath & Leinster Finals) and the weekly interaction with the half-time teams.
Yes it’s great to see the tremendous work at underage level in the local community being recognised by the club. Myself and Mick were delighted to be invited to the Boyne Valley Hotel for the local league’s presentations.

The players are still travelling from all parts of the North East to play with the youths
Yes the catchment area is even bigger nowadays with players like Conor O’Keefe coming from as far as Delvin, Co.Westmeath! We have a good mix of players from Drogheda, Louth, Meath & North Dublin. Players like Danny Connell from Trim, Sean Challenger from Navan & Ger Sweetman from Balbriggan are happy to do the extra travelling involved!

You have an excellent backroom team in place.
Yes we have a great bunch of people involved in the coaching - Mickey Murphy, Sam Kenny, Mark Monaghan and Stephen Corry. We really appreciate that we are able to concentrate on the football as we have Trudy Kerr as secretary and Jim MacArdle compiling reports for the website and newspapers.

Hopefully the forthcoming trials will unearth a few more gems!
Yes we are looking forward to the two dates for trials(June 30th for the U-17s)and (July 4th for the U-19s).The talent is definitely out there. Hopefully we will get a good turnout on both nights. Further information on the Youths is available on droghedaunited.ie


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