Last Saturday afternoon our U19s played Pascal Keane’s Villa Premier Squad in our first pre-season game. It went well, a 5-2 win for us, with a lot of our new players putting in really good performances. Considering it was the first time a lot of these lads had ever played together there were a lot of positives to be taken, and some good lessons learned as well.
Patrick Fitzgerald (Bohs) & Gavin O’Donovan (Villa) looked very solid as a centre-half pairing, with Cormac Breslin (Arklow Town) putting in a very impressive shift in his first time out in a Blues shirt in midfield. Jamie Hunt (Tramore AFC) notched on his debut and was unlucky not to score a second with a very clever header from a terrific Jamie Walsh (De La Salle) delivery in the first half. Some of our new players on view showed some serious changes of pace that will be a threat to any U19 squad in the Elite League. I was delighted with Jamie Walsh, Jamie Hunt, Mark Walsh & Johnny St Ledger’s combination play. For players who have not played a lot of football together they showed us the potential that, given the right focus, will be really exciting to work with. Alan Rhodes & Nathan West appear to have picked up where they left off last year with some lovely strikes and assists with David Cooley showing a growing maturity as acting skipper in midfield.
We were delighted with the performance, and with Conor Coad, Jason Keane, Russel Quirke, Jamie Cross, Robbie Bourke & Jack Doherty from last year still to figure we should again be hoping to be very competive in the U19 Elite League. Add to that newcomers Kevin O’Connor (Enniscorthy), Andrew O’Connor & Conor Whittle (both De La Salle) who were away on U18 International duty, and our squad is shaping up well.
We must not lose sight of why our U19 players sign for Waterford United though, it is because we believe they have the potential to play for our first team, and Paul O’Brien has already demonstrated this by including many of last year’s squad into 1st team football. Jamie Cross, Conor Coad, Aidan McGrath, Jack Doherty & the impressive Seanie Maguire are now well established 1st team squad players, Aidan being the only one of the five not eligible for U19 duty this year.
Next Thursday, 26th July, at 6pm in the RSC, we welcome San Diego University from the USA. This will again be a very good work-out as they travel over with a very strong reputation. Their coach is Irish-born Seamus MacFadden, who has played in the NASL. They are bringing a squad of 25 players, so we will play two games side-by-side. This will be our first time to play a team from outside of Ireland so it will be nice to have a little international flavour. It will also be a chance for some players to discuss state scholarships so hopefully it will be a very good exercise.
Mia san Mia,