U19s success is a milestone for future
Sligo Rovers breakthrough success in the Under 19 Northern Premier division is a significant step forward in terms of the club's long term strategy.
Rovers have made spectacular progress at senior level in recent years and now the hope is that more and more home grown players will come through the under-age structure.
It's the first time that Rovers have had a dedicated youth policy in place under the guidance of former club captain, Gavin Dykes. Along with his assistants, Ciaran Kelly and Colin Feehily, Dykes guided the U.19 team to regional success this year in only the side's second season in operation.
Now the challenge is to build on that breakthrough and prepare for the task of competing in the Elite national division next year.
Already, plans are under way for the next campaign with Rovers scouting for the best young talent throughout the North West region.
It's all part of the club's policy of producing local players and giving them a realistic chance to progress their careers, hopefully making it all the way to the first team in years to come.
The U.19 squad, which was sponsored throughout the season by Deputy John Perry, TD, with a valuable contribution from the Bit O'Red Supporters Trust, fundraisers and volunteers, gave the club a great boost by bringing early-season silverware to the Showgrounds.
And with senior team manager, Ian Baraclough, a strong advocate of promoting young talent, there is every chance that a number of players from the U.19 squad will be involved in the senior panel at some point in the not too distant future.
Club Chairman, Dermot Kelly, was delighted that all the hard work at Under 19 level had been rewarded.
"It's fantastic to see more silverware coming to the club and especially to the players we hope will play a big part in our future.
"Gavin, Ciaran, Colin and all the staff worked so hard with the players and this title is a fitting reward for the dedication and effort they showed all year"
He thanked Deputy Perry, the Bit O'Red Supporters Trust and the many other fundraisers and volunteers who had contributed to the success of the U.19 squad.