DERRY City’s conveyor belt of talent which has produced Barry McNamee, Ronan Curtis, Rory Holden, Conor McDermott and Nathan Boyle shows no signs of slowing up, according to Under-19 manager, John Quigg.
And the former left back, whose U19 side open their league campaign with a trip to Athlone Town in the Northern Section of the Premier Division next month, believes that under first team manager, Kenny Shiels, his young players will get their chance.
“Eddie (Seydak), Gary (Duffy), Hugh Harkin and myself have all been working at youth level for years and the main objective at this club is player development and that will not change,” he maintained.
“We have managed this successfully over the years and yes, if it comes to a stage that we are there or there abouts in terms of winning the U19 title then fine, but we are not overly concerned about winning trophies, we strive to ensure that players are ready to push their way into the first team set-up.
“Even this year the likes of Eoin Toal, Adrian Delap, Evan Tweed and Sean McBride have all been playing and training with the first team; and I expect them to be playing senior football rather than the U19s this season,” noted Quigg.
“A few years back we had Georgie Kelly, Ben Doherty, Conor McDermott, Rory Holden, Ronan Curtis and Ciaran Harkin in the same team, but they have all gone on to play senior football for either at Derry City or elsewhere, and that’s the challenge we have to put to the next batch coming through.”
For under 17 coach, Gary Duffy, whose side entertain Athlone Town at Brandywell next month in the Northern Section, he is really excited about his current crop of youngsters.
“We start at home to Athlone on St Patrick’s weekend and all the players can’t wait to be back playing at the Brandywell,” he said.
“We have high hopes for Caolan McLaughlin, Jack Park and a few boys who have caught my eye coming up from Justin Green’s U15 squad, including Caolan Porter, who has done really well since he moved up. In fairness, along with the other lads, Caolan is probably the stand out.”
This season the FAI have introduced an U15 league and for coach Justin Green, he too believes the chance to play at Brandywell is something special for his teenage squad.
City U15’s are in Group One with Bohemians, Dundalk, Finn Harps, Shelbourne and St. Patrick’s Athletic and Green believes that experience of League of Ireland football at such a young age is great for their development.
“I have to admit I’m really excited about this group of players,” enthused Green last week.
“The experience of playing at Brandywell every other week and travelling up and down the country playing against the best players in the League of Ireland, is going to be a great experience and it’s fair to suggest they are all looking forward to the challenges which lie ahead.”