The St Kevin's Under-16 side

ST KEVIN’S Boys may be gearing up to welcome European giants such as Barcelona and Olympique Marseille to Shanowen Road this Easter weekend, but the club still has a fight on its hands to play against the best sides here at home.
Just last weekend the club had their place confirmed in SFAI cup finals at four different age groups but the FAI’s decision to deny them entry to the Under-15 national league, and most likely the Under-13 league as well, has left a question mark over the club’s ability to survive.
“We have been denied access to the League of Ireland for the Under-19s, 17s and 15s,” Kevin’s PRO Neil Fox told GazetteSport. “We can only apply for the Under-13s but, at this stage, if you are not getting into the 19s, 17s and 15s, I think it is highly unlikely we are going to get access to the 13s.
“We can’t seem to tie in with a League of Ireland club either. We’ve spoken to nearly every LOI club in the country but for some reason we can’t get in and we are not being told why.
“I think a lot of clubs are afraid that we are going to take over if we get involved. However, that’s not our intention because we are very happy with our identity and just want to be part of the LOI.”
It is a tough situation for the club who have nurtured talents such as Robbie Brady and Jeff Hendrick from the present, past legend Liam Brady and rising star Jack Byrne, to stare down the barrel of exclusion from the top tier.
All St Kevin’s can do is live in the moment and hope that a solution is found sooner rather than later. And what a moment it is, with four cup finals to look forward to and this weekend’s Under-13s academy cup.
Barcelona – who Kevin’s defeated in a group game before losing to in last year’s final – and Marseille will be joined in the tournament by Deportivo La Coruna, Westbromwich Albion and KRC Genk.
The tournament is split into two groups played out over three days and kicks off at 10am on Friday when St Kevin’s line up against Genk.
“It is a massive coup for us to get Barcelona back.
“They get invitations and offers from all over the world so it is massive that they have decided to come back and play with us again. It is testament of how well the academy cup is run and the standard of football we can offer,” said Fox.
The cup finals are due to take place next month where St Kevin’s will be hoping to cement their names even further into the history books of Irish football.
“It’s a bit unfortunate because the week before we were beaten in the semi-finals of the Under-17s cup, and we were beaten quite early in the Under-15s.
“We were going to try and complete all them but we can’t complain with four out of four last weekend. I think the managers, coaches, and players have done a fantastic job to get this far,” said Fox


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