Travers’ faith in youth

by Dave Donnelly
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CORDUFF have announced the appointment of former schoolboy manager Davey Travers to lead their Leinster Senior League side next season as they look to rise up the intermediate ranks.
The Blanch side finished seventh in Major Sunday last season under the management of Johney Kerr and Gary Parkes.
With Kerr returning to playing, the club have appointed Travers, who was previously coach of the club’s 1998 age group, the most successful in the club’s history.
A number of that age group have graduated to the senior squad and Parkes was keen to bring Travers in as his replacement due to his long-term relationship with those players.
“Gaz was asking me about doing it,” Travers told GazetteSport. “Running the underage teams over the years, he thought I’d have known the players coming up into the senior set-up now and I’d have known their strengths as players.
“There’s a great foundation at the club now. Keep the lads together for a few years and then you’ll have a really strong side in two or three, maybe even four years time.
“With them being so young – the age of the squad is 26 down to 19 years of age – the plan is to hold onto them there as a unit and build on them year on year.”
Travers coached the 1998 side – which included his son Dylan, a member of the senior squad following spells with Bray Wanderers and Bohemians, from Under-8 to Under-15s.
That age group won several NDSL Premier titles, five cups and reached two All-Ireland SFAI Cup semi-finals, establishing the club as one of the leading schoolboy nurseries in the country.
Three of the squad – Jean-Yves Poame, Ismael Diallo and Yassine En-Neyah – earned contracts with top English clubs, while others graduated to League of Ireland clubs.
The club inked a recent deal with Shamrock Rovers to provide a player pathway to the League of Ireland, though Travers hopes the underage system will continue to feed the seniors.
“You can see now some of the 98s, who played for my [team], probably four or five of them are gone into the senior side now.
“Over the next couple of years, there should be other younger lads coming through.”
It won’t be an easy task, however, with the likes of former AUL big boys Collinstown and St Kevin’s Boys freshly-promoted and the return of St Francis to the Major Sunday ranks.
“There’s a lot of good sides coming into this year, the likes of Collinstown and Kevin’s. Colinstown have been one of the top sides in the AUL the last few years so they’ll be very strong.”
Corduff will move from Sunday afternoon games to Friday night lights at Blanchardstown IT this season in what’s set to be a hugely competitive division.
“I think the move to Friday nights is better. It’s better for me personally and I think a lot of the lads would like to play on a Friday as well.
“They’ll have their weekends off then – they’re not spending their weekends preparing for games. It seems to suit all concerned.”

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