“They’ll have no fear and are determined to get a positive result”


FC Midtjylland v Bohemians U19s

Wednesday October 3, Arena Herning, 5.30pm (6.30pm local time)

The Bohemians U19s will line out in the Uefa Youth League for the first time tomorrow “with no fear and determined to get a positive result.”

Competition eligibility rules mean some of Craig Sexton’s regulars will have to sit this tournament out but the 2017 SSE Airtricity League U19 champions and 2018 Enda McGuill Cup winners’ successes over the past 18 months gives them every reason to be positive.

While some star men such as now first-team regular Danny Grant and Jamie Hamilton were among the unlucky ones not to meet the criteria, there are five players in the travelling party who have already tasted senior football under Keith Long, while goalkeeper Seán Bohan has been a regular on the bench.


Steven Nolan made his first-team breakthrough last season and has featured in senior squads again this term, while U19s skipper Andy Lyons has deputised in the place of first-team captain Derek Pender at times this season and delivered mature performances way beyond his 18 years.

Lyons was one of four of the team that will play tomorrow who featured in the first team’s Dublin derby win over St Patrick’s Athletic 10 days ago – the others being winger Ryan Graydon, two-goal debutant Ali Reghba and pacey attacker Promise Omochere.

Sexton said: “Some of the boys didn’t meet the criteria, which is disappointing but we have a strong group who I believe will be strongly competitive and positive as they always have been.

“The issue around eligibility for the compeitition are what they are but they are kinder to the winter leagues rather than summer leagues.

“But in this group we have young boys who have done really well over the last 18 months. They will play with no fear and are determined to get a positive result tomorrow.

“We want to bring the tie back to Dalymount in three weeks’ time and show people what we are about.”

The budding Gypsies had an early start and a long day’s travel today, catching a 6.25am flight from Dublin to London Stansted, a connecting flight at 11.30 to Aarhus and a coach journey to Herning.

Sexton said: “I was actually expecting the travel to be harder on the boys but they’re grand.

“We’ll get to train later but it will be quite light. We’ll get the travelling out of their legs, have a bit of fun and then get them refocused on to the game.

“We’ll look at some video and analysis and get them prepared for tomorrow.”

Reaching this competition is the culmination of a lot of hard work going on behind the scenes at youth level, which has been complemented this season by working closely with new partners St Kevin’s at U17 and U15 level.

Sexton added: “It’s a great experience for everyone. Getting able to travel, coming across to play in a different culture is what we should be striving for all the time for young players.

“To do it in a competitive environment is great for them. It creates a real edge for them.

“Everyone at the club has bought into it. They know the U19s have done the extremely proud and we’ve had brilliant support from the club.

“Hopefully long may it continue. We want to make being in the UEFA Youth League a habit and everyone in the first team is striving to get to Europe too.

“Right through from the partnership teams with St Kevin’s at U15s and U17s, there is huge effort being made to bring players through.

“The link with St Kevin’s is already bearing fruits with the U15s and U17s and we will see that come through then in the next year or two for the U19s.

“It’s been fantastic. The U17s have gone 20 games unbeaten, which is phenominal. Hopefully they can see that through into the knockout phase as Jimmy Mowlds and the boys deserve it.

“They were desparetely unlucky to lose to Cork in the final last year but they’ve been brilliant. When they players move from U17s to U19s, they make the transition quickly because they’ve already been in a competitive environment and that stands them in good stead.”

Bohemians U19 squad: Seán Bohan, Jamie Cleary, Alex Nevin; Michell Byrne, Seamus Curley, Warren Curran, Andrew Lyons, Peter Adigun, Thomas Considine; Dylan Thornton, Alex Kelly, Josh Dunne, Conor O’Neill, Ryan Graydon, Arturs Balavins; Ross Tierney, Ali Reghba, Promise Omochere, Steven Nolan.

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