Sligo Rovers won the Under-19 Northern Division this season as a brave effort by the young Bit o’ Red stars ended in glory this season.
Nurtured and coached by Head of Youth Development Gavin Dykes and Ciaran Kelly, the Rovers players made huge strides this season after Dykes implemented a programme that saw the squad constantly improve over a couple of seasons to this achievement.
There were a number of success stories from the underage squads recently. Liam Martin, Jake Dykes, Colm McLaughlin, Mark McGoldrick have all featured with the Rovers first-team having played with the Under-19.
More members of this year’s league-winning squad are likely to come into the contention for Rovers boss Ian Baraclough in 2013 and Jake Dykes recently captained the Republic of Ireland Under-18 home-based team that played Wales in a friendly match.
Rovers ended this season with a three point advantage over runners-up Dundalk as they held their nerve on the final day of the season to win 4-0 against Fanad United.
23 goals were netted over the course of 12 league games.
Ruairí Keating was top scorer with nine goals but the mean defence was also a key element of the team.
Captain Hugh McFadden told the LOI Under-19 website: “I'm delighted to have captained the side this season, it's been a great year for the club and this group of players deserved what we achieved.
“All the lads have worked hard and we are delighted it's paid off.”
Dermot Kelly said “It is fantastic to see more silverware come to the club and especially to the players we hope will play a big part in our future.
“Gavin, Ciaran, Colin and all of the staff have worked so hard with the players and this title is a fitting reward for the dedication and effort they showed all year.
“We’d like to thank Minister Perry for his generous sponsorship of the team and for his support of Rovers at youth level on many occasions.
“It is richly appreciated and promotion to the Elite Division is a wonderful feat for all associated.
“The Bit o’ Red Supporters Trust and many other fundraisers and volunteers also contributed greatly to the Under-19's and we are thrilled to see our young players in the top flight now and ready to hopefully achieve even more.”
We look forward to the Bit o’ Red competing in next season’s Elite Division.