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UCD will compete with Europe's elite football clubs this season

The Students have secured a place in the Uefa Youth League.

(file photo).
(file photo).
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

UCD ARE SET to take part in the Uefa Youth League this season, it has been confirmed this morning.

Having won the SSE Airtricity League U19 League final, the Students will join the U19s sides of the 32 Champions League entrants as well as the domestic youth champions of each nation.

With former Bray Wanderers interim boss Maciej Tarnogrodzki in charge, UCD will be the second League of Ireland club to participate in the competition after Cork City, who were knocked out by Roma after a memorable victory over Finnish champions HJK last year.

“We didn’t get our hopes up for this but we said that if it happened we’d be ready for it,” said UCD head of youth development Albert Sugg. “It’s a great challenge for the club and a good reward for the lads who won the league last season,” he said.

“The U19s team is currently top of the Southern Section and are in the Enda McGuil Cup final so we’ve kept up where we left off last year. There’s a good nucleus of lads left over from last season and we’ve promoted a lot of the lads who were beaten in the U17 final last year.

We knew we’d be competitive this year while as champions everybody wants to knock you down but the players and staff have put a lot of hard work in and have a lot to play for still.

“Maciej Tarnogrodzki is the head coach, Darren Burke is his assistant and our new U15s manager Padraic Fitzpatrick has also been working with them this season.”

FAI director of communications Fran Gavin added: “We are very pleased to receive confirmation from Uefa of UCD’s qualification for the 2017/18 Uefa Youth League.

“Last year’s experience for Cork City was very positive and generated a lot of interest for the talented young players within the club. The likes of Chiedoze Ogbene and Aaron Drinan received a lot of attention with their performances for City in the Uefa competition.

“UCD have a long history of producing excellent young teams and their players will relish the chance to pit their wits against the champion clubs from other Uefa nations. Their first team did very well in the UEFA Europa League qualifiers two years ago so it would be great if their U19s could emulate those performances.

“The SSE Airtricity League underage structure is about providing the best young players in the country with a chance to be tested at a higher level and the Uefa Youth League opportunity gives them another fantastic learning experience.”

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