Swilly Rovers are on the march again when they face Mervue United from Galway next weekend in the fourth round of FAI Umbro U-17 Challenge Cup. Last season the club’s U-16s made it through to the last four of the U-16 Youth Cup before losing 4-2 to eventual outright winners St. Joseph’s Boys, Dublin, in a cracking quarter-final. Jim McCahill was the manager of last year’s team and McCahill is once again wearing the manager’s armband.
While it is just a year on, this season’s Swilly’s U-17 squad is very much a new look outfit following the departure of central figures in last year’s run, Darragh Black, Jordan Toal, Dylan Quinn, Dylan Hegarty and Vinny Piper. Black, Toal and Hegarty have signed for Finn Harps while Piper is concentrating on athletics.
“The lads are a huge loss and we would love to have them, but they have moved on and are now on the books with Harps which is a step up for them and we wish them well. I certainly have no problem with them going, because as far as I see it, it is step up for them on a personal level and is going to give them an opportunity to play at a higher level and hopefully advance their own football careers,” insisted manager McCahill.
Ronan Curtis, Caolan Bolton, Dominic Hall, Padraig Ferry, Kyle Burke, Gavin Grier are the survivors from last season and along James McCahill, son of the manager, who missed most of last season through injury, are the main men this season.
Nathan McElwaine, Duncan Patterson and Adam Serrina, who were on the fringes of last season’s squad, have been added to the full squad by McCahill.
“The lads that left are a big loss, but we still have a good few survivors and a number of young lads that were in the extended squad have been moved up to the full squad this season and we still feel we have a strong side.”
Swilly have played three games so far with victories over Ballyhaise Celtic, Cavan, Cappry United and Clones Town.
In their last game, just before Christmas, they came from 2-0 down against Ballyhaise in Swilly Park, having defeated Clones Town 3-0, also at home, while they defeated Cappry 3-0 in Cappry.
“We feel we have done well so far given that it is a new look team and while we know Mervue are a strong outfit and have three players back on loan from Ipswich Town, the boys have put in a big effort since the Ballyhaise game, and they will be going all out for the win.”
Mervue United have been fairly cracking in the goals having hit 17 goals and only conceded three in their three games to date which included a 4-1 victory over Roscommon Youths, 9-0 over Athenry and 4-2 against Conn Rangers.
The game has been fixed for Sunday with kick-off time at 2 pm.