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Opportunity is ripe for all at NDSL academy as development continues to blossom

Coming off a disappointing Kennedy Cup last July, the NDSL are buzzing once more with a new Inter-league season nearly upon us and the NDSL youths already showing the way forward.

Like everything else in life, success is followed by expectation and that is partly why so many were surprised with the performance in Limerick last July but that is now in the past and NDSL Academy Technical Director, Mitch Whitty, is one very excited about the future.

Speaking with me in an Oscar Traynor Centre buzzing with activity on Saturday morning, Mitch spoke of how himself and Academy Director Jimmy Mowlds are continuing to put plans in place for the Academy and also see progress been constantly made.

"We did our assessments process in September and we are extremely happy with the quality of player that came in."

"The leagues are definitely stronger, meaning the squads we have in are stronger. The 12's and 13's are very strong, we have an exciting Kennedy Cup squad, with the 15's there was a bit of restructuring but again good players have come in, the 16's again saw a bit of restructuring but Jimmy and the lads have done very well to develop a good squad and then our Youths have started off with a great win."

"The quality we have noticed has improved. New clubs like Sheriff have come in, Ballymun across the board, St Kevin's have more teams in at some age groups and then of course we have our traditional NDSL clubs, who are all getting stronger".

However as Mitch told me on Saturday morning, it's not just the quality of player that is improving, it's everything about the Academy that is making strides forward.

"We have the facilities here now and we have a syllabus and philosophy in place, where teams have to play a certain way and everything is structured. They have people for their strength and conditioning, diet and nutrition, match analysis, physio, its a real academy now."


"The opportunities are there now for players, they don't have to go anywhere else with the links we now have in place, with the FAI emerging talent program, players getting trials, signing professional contracts, the opportunities with Bohemians Under-19s."

And there is no doubt that when you see the structures and planning that Mitch and Jimmy, and the other coaches involved are putting in and the support from Honorary Secretary Tony Gains, that the future is very bright indeed.

"There's a great vibe here at the minute. There's a lot of work been done on and off the field to make sure every team is as successful as possible, no stone is been left unturned."

"And we've exciting days ahead with the Inter-league's back for 12's, 13's, 15's and 16's, the Milk cup hopefully for our 13's and 15's. And our objective is there to be the best."

The clubs link with Bohemians is getting stronger too with several players now dual-signed with Bohs Under-19's and talks with new Bohs manager Keith Long happening soon, which the NDSL hope will lead to development in other areas.