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Bohs form underage partnership with one of the most famous schoolboy clubs in Ireland

Bohs and St Kevin’s Boys hope to provide a player development pathway right up to senior level.

BOHEMIANS AND ST Kevin’s Boys — one of the country’s most famous schoolboy clubs — have today agreed an exclusive partnership designed to develop and nurture the talent of young Irish footballers.

Bohs-SKB (1) Source: Bohemians FC

The initial five-year agreement will see the clubs join forces to provide a player development pathway up to senior level by entering joint teams in the SSE Airtricity U13 and U15 Leagues.

Bohemians, the League of Ireland’s oldest club, has a tradition of producing Ireland internationals and this arrangement will add to the work the club has done at underage level over the last few years.

Stephen Ward and Matt Doherty were both products of the Bohs’ underage system while Robbie Brady and Jeff Hendrick came through the St Kevin’s ranks before moving to England.

The hope is that this new partnership, which will also see the Bohs-SKB U13/U15 teams play their matches in the iconic red and black stripes, will provide a breeding ground for the next generation right through to League of Ireland level and beyond.

The Bohemians U17 side, managed by Jimmy Mowlds, and the U19 team, who last month won the SSE Airtricity U19 League, will remain and continue to feed the Gypsies’ senior team with players; nine graduates were handed debuts by Keith Long during the 2017 domestic season.

“It’s an exciting opportunity for both clubs,” Bohs manager Long said.

“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.”

St Kevin’s 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.

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A view of Dalymount ahead of the game Dalymount Park. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“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.

“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.”

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