Two former Clonmel Town players and All-Ireland minor football winners with Tipperary Colman Kennedy from Clonmel and Greg Henry of Killenaule are continuing their remarkable success with Cork City FC in the FAI U19 soccer league.
Last week was an incredible week for both which started with a trip to Manchester United to represent Cork City FC U19 team in a friendly against a Manchester United reserve team, a game played at the magnificent Carrington training ground. Manchester United’s first team had played West Ham United the previous day in the FA Cup and some of the younger squad players returned to play in the fixture. Seven of the United starting 11 had first team experience and the famous Ryan Tunnicliffe who is noted for his Dad collecting £10,000 on a bet he placed when the boy was 9 that he would play for Man United started in midfield for the Reds. The United team had players from all the continents and their coach explained that the team on display cost almost £20m to assemble. The power pace and skill of the united side was evident throughout the game. The former Clonmel Town players gave an excellent account of themselves. The 6-0 scoreline to United was not a true reflection of the game as Cork City went close on numerous occasions and it was a wonderful free flowing game enjoyed by all in attendance.
After the game the players were treated to a tour of the amazing facilities at Carrington which are fitting as a training ground for one of the greatest teams in Europe. It was an occasion which will last in the memory of the young players for a long time and with Tommy Dunne the Cork City first team manager present it can only help the progress of the two local Tipperary boys.
For Colman Kennedy it was in fact the second time he faced top quality opposition this season having made his Cork City debut against Blackburn Rovers in a pre season friendly.
It was then back to business for the two boys last week returning to University College Cork to continue their studies and they then faced a difficult U19 FAI Cup semi final away to Salthill Devon in Galway on Saturday. Cork City emerged victorious over the tribesmen after a 2-1 extra time win and they now face the winners of the other semi final between Shelbourne and Wexford Youths as they aim to retain the Enda McGuill Cup.
It is fantastic to see local players doing well and it only seems like yesterday that they were part of the Clonmel Town Danone Cup team that had such success in qualifying for a world tournament in France.