FAI High Performance Director Ruud Dokter and Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane today officially launched the inaugural SSE Airtricity National U17 League at FAI headquarters in Abbotstown.
The introduction of the SSE Airtricity National U17 League is a key addition to the elite player pathway as the country’s best young players come together to play the highest level of football every week.
Ruud Dokter said: “The creation of the SSE Airtricity National U17 League is a very important development for Irish Football.
“It provides young players in Ireland with a regular challenging environment designed to produce high quality players to progress for the future.
“This new league bridges the gap between schoolboy football, which runs up to U16 level, and the SSE Airtricity U19 League, which is now firmly established as the springboard for young talented players into adult football.
“Many of the players who play in the SSE Airtricity National U17 League will have come through the FAI’s Emerging Talent Programme, and this will give them their first opportunity to play in a national league.”
Speaking today, SSE Airtricity Marketing Manager, Áine Murphy said: “We are very pleased to extend our sponsorship with the SSE Airtricity League to the SSE Airtricity National U17 League which we see as a natural addition to the SSE Airtricity National U19 League which we have already supported.
“SSE Airtricity is committed to playing our part in helping the growth of Irish football and are fully supportive of the SSE Airtricity National U17 League and its aims.”
The League kicks off on the weekend beginning August 9. The first season will be truncated, and will end in December in line with the SSE Airtricity U19 League. The 2016 season will kick-off in alignment with the SSE Airtricity Premier and First Division seasons.
These are the opening round of fixtures:
Cabinteely v Cobh Ramblers
Cork City v Waterford United
Limerick v UCD
Wexford Youths v Bray Wanderers
Longford Town v Salthill Devon
Mervue United v Shamrock Rovers
St. Patrick’s Athletic v Sligo Rovers
(Athlone Town – no opening round fixture)
Drogheda United v Monaghan United-Cavan FP
Finn Harps v Derry City
Shelbourne v Bohemians
(Dundalk – no opening round fixture)