Monday 21 August 2017

New U-15 league row rumbles on

Jonathan Walters in action for Burnley against Tom Linthorst during last night’s friendly at Tallaght Stadium. Walters and Robbie Brady were both on target as the visitors beat a Shamrock Rovers XI 4-0. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Jonathan Walters in action for Burnley against Tom Linthorst during last night’s friendly at Tallaght Stadium. Walters and Robbie Brady were both on target as the visitors beat a Shamrock Rovers XI 4-0. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

John Fallon

Disgruntled schoolboy clubs have unleashed their first salvo at the FAI over the decision to allow St Kevin's Boys compete in the inaugural U-15 National League.

Solicitor Maurice Lyons, acting on behalf of six leading Dublin underage clubs, yesterday sent a letter to FAI chief executive John Delaney requesting clarity on a number of issues surrounding the selection process for the new league, which is due to kick off next month, with St Kevin's the only schoolboy club among the 28 teams invited to compete.

The inclusion of St Kevin's caused bemusement and annoyance in equal measure to League of Ireland clubs and the rest of schoolboy football, with unease growing throughout the country.

Their grievance is that they were told by leading FAI officials that no schoolboy outfits would be allowed to play in the league; instead they were urged to form alliances with League of Ireland clubs.

Several did just that - including Home Farm, who teamed up with Drogheda United. Malahide United partnered with Dundalk, while Belvedere, Crumlin United and Cherry Orchard have entered into an understanding with St Patrick's Athletic.

The letter sent to the FAI was on their behalf, as well as Stella Maris.

However, the outcry is not confined to these six clubs and several other nurseries inside and outside of Dublin are of the view that double standards were applied when it came to deciding who should play in the U-15 National League.

While St Kevin's had talks with several League of Ireland clubs, they failed to reach agreement with any of them.

The FAI have stated that St Kevin's were included on the basis of ongoing discussions with Bohemians but high performance director Ruud Dokter refused to rule out them remaining in situ for the inaugural season.

League of Ireland clubs have also been in contact with the FAI, with some of them saying that they are prepared to boycott fixtures against St Kevin's.

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