03 October 2016
While Dundalk FC made their own history in Irish football on Thursday night in the UEFA Europa League, their SSE Airtricity League rivals Cork City were also creating their own bit of national history on the European stage on Wednesday evening.
The Cork City U19s became the first ever Irish team to compete in the prestigious UEFA Youth League as they travelled to Finland to take on HJK Helsinki in the first leg.
Cork City U19's colleges and universities representatives.
The UEFA Youth League was formed in 2013 with this season being the fourth campaign. Barcelona were the inaugural winners of the competition before Chelsea completed back to back successes. Underage Irish internationals such as Man City's Jack Byrne and Tom Holland, ex-Liverpool's Daniel Cleary, and Celtic's Eoghan O'Connell have all experienced the tournament in recent years.
The young Leesiders were very unlucky not to bring some sort of an advantage back to Turner's Cross for the second leg as it finished scoreless in Helsinki. This was despite numerous chances in both halfs where they put the home side under immense pressure.
6 of the squad have continued their studies beyond their Leaving Cert and are in Third Level education.
Garan Manley and Adam Mylod are both attending University College Cork. Garan is studying for a BSc in Business Information Systems and Adam is in his second year of an Arts degree.
Travelling south past Cork Lough to the Tramore Road is Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa where Denzil Fernandes, Ross Welch, Chiedozie Ogbene and Jordan O'Regan are all studying. Denzil and Jordan are both studying Sports Coaching, whilst Chiedozie is studying Sports Injuries and Therapy, and Ross is focusing his attention on Sport & Exercise Performance.
Also, Adam O'Sullivan is studying Player Development LTI as part of the FAI ETB program.
The six demonstrate the growing influence that Third Level has on the domestic game and helps aid the development of young elite players preparing to transition into senior football in Ireland. Whilst doing this, they are all expected to feature in the new Third Level Season which kick's off on Tuesday 11th October with the first round games of the Colleges and Universities Football League.
The second leg is set for Turner's Cross on Wednesday 19th October (19:45 KO)