BOHS/ST KEVIN’S AGREE PATHWAY PARTNERSHIP

Bohs-SKB

Bohemian FC and St Kevin’s Boys FC are delighted to announce we have entered into an exclusive partnership to provide a development pathway from elite underage football through to senior level.

The inaugural SSE Airtricity U15 League this year saw Bohemians and St Kevin’s enter separate teams but under this new five-year agreement, the clubs will enter a joint team when the 2018 season kicks off in March.

This arrangement will be extended to U13 level when the new SSE Airtricity U13 League commences in March 2019.

It brings together the League of Ireland’s oldest club and the country’s most famous schoolboy club.

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Both have a proud tradition of nurturing talent. Ireland’s most recent senior international squads are a testament to that.

They featured two former Bohemians in Stephen Ward and Matt Doherty and the established former St Kevin’s duo of Robbie Brady and Jeff Hendrick.

It is anticipated that the new arrangement will add to the strides Bohemians have made in recent years with our existing underage elite teams.

Graham Lawlor’s U19s won the SSE Airtricity U19 League last month and as a result will compete in the UEFA Youth League next year, while it took an agonising penalty shootout defeat away to Cork City to deny Jimmy Mowlds’ U17s the SSE Airtricity U17 League title.

The senior team has reaped the benefits of these strong foundations with nine graduates of our underage sides being handed first-team debuts in various competitions over the course of the 2017 season.

Beyond the elite teams, Bohemians have worked hard to build our youth structures from the bottom up. The club has increased its participation numbers within the community through our Academy (ages 4-7), Girls Academy (ages 7-12), and youth teams (ages 7-15).

Bohemian Youth Development Officer Ian Morris said: “A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes at growing the club’s youth structures.

“The youth section has grown steadily and we feel we now have very strong foundations in place.

“This arrangement with St Kevin’s will complement those and we’re looking forward to it.”

St Kevin’s Director of Football Ken Donohoe said: “We are delighted this strategic partnership has been agreed.

“It is an opportunity for both clubs to further grow and present a clearly defined pathway for coaches and elite players from the youngest age groups right through to League of Ireland football and beyond, using the expertise within both clubs that has made them so successful in their respective spheres up to now.

“It will create opportunities for players from both clubs to maximise their potential in a highly professional and competitive environment.

“We look forward to both clubs embracing this concept with desire, determination and commitment to making it a success that will enhance football standards in this country.”

Bohemians first team manager Keith Long believes the new development is a “statement of intent” that can only benefit both parties.

Long said: “It’s an exciting opportunity for both clubs. We’re two elite clubs operating out of the northside of Dublin. We both have a reputation for bringing talent through, so the potential is clear.

“We have the same vision and we believe we can work really well together. From a footballing point of view, this deal makes sense for both of us.

“You only have to look at the calibre of player St Kevin’s have produced to see that.

“Now they have a pathway to bring them from that level on to senior League of Ireland level and beyond. It’s a statement of intent from both clubs.”

The deal brings an end to Bohemians’ previous arrangement with the North Dublin Schoolboy League.

Bohemian FC President Chris Brien said: “I want to thank Tony Gains and the NDSL for all their support and assistance over the last six years.

“It has been a very successful partnership, however, the board of Bohemian FC decided it was time for a new initiative and I look forward to a new chapter for our elite section.

“I believe the partnership between the two clubs will help move both of us to a new level.”

St Kevin’s FC Chairman Michael O’Callaghan said: “Ever since the FAI announced the advent of the newly-structured National League, our club made the decision that we would endeavour to do all that we possibly could to be involved at the highest level of the schoolboy game in this country.

“We did not want to accept a supporting role where we would have a loose association with a senior club. We wanted to be as fully involved as possible in the running, coaching and development of the young players in the National Leagues. We have had many years of negotiations and discussions to achieve that end.

“Having got to know the officials at Bohemian FC – and they having got to know us – we feel that the new partnership will prove beneficial to both clubs. We have a proven track record of developing young players since our foundation in 1959. We also have excellent facilities and infrastructure that we can put at the disposal of the elite SSE teams.

“Of course Bohemian FC has an even longer pedigree in the game, stretching back to 1890. We trust that the new partnership will prove beneficial to both clubs.

“We look forward to forging a new future together. We hope that this partnership, allied to the redevelopment of Dalymount Park in the near future, will lead to a resurgence in Bohemians’ fortunes.

“We look forward to working together to improve the standard of the players coming through the pathway, from the youngest underage teams all the way through to playing in the League of Ireland – and possibly beyond.

Bohemian FC Youth Director Conor Emerson said: “The deal creates a unique opportunity. St Kevin’s lead the way in youth football development and bring huge expertise and experience in this area.

“Coupled with what we have to offer in terms of the pathway into senior football, we feel we now have the complete package, benefiting both clubs.

“More importantly, it will benefit the players coming through our systems.”

St Kevin’s Secretary Brendan Bermingham said: “Having spent the last couple of months in discussion with Bohemian FC representatives I’m delighted to announce that we were finally able to get a partnership agreement over the line.

“A link with such a progressive club allows present and future St Kevin’s players an opportunity to be part of the Bohemians structure and display their talents at the highest levels.

“The integrated partnership can only benefit both organisations. We look forward to the exciting and successful times ahead.

Under the agreement, the U13/U15 Bohs-SKB partnership teams’ first kit will be the Gypsies’ iconic red and black stripes with the St Kevin’s crest on the sleeves, while the second kit will be St Kevin’s traditional tangerine.

As well as the Bohs-SKB U13/U15 teams using St Kevin’s training facilities, the existing Bohemians U17 and U19 teams will do likewise.

The Bohs-SKB U13/U15 teams will play their matches at St Kevin’s pitches at Shanowen Rd, while the Bohs U17 and U19 teams will play their matches at St Aidan’s.

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