History was made in Dublin's AUL Complex last week as an FAI National Academy side played against international opposition for the first time.

The 2005 National Academy played against the Netherlands in back-to-back friendlies in a first for the Emerging Talent Programme.

James McManus scored in the opening 3-1 defeat to the Dutch, before a consolation Adam Murphy penalty saw the side lose 2-1 in the second game

Despite the two defeats, ETP National Co-Ordinator Niall Harrison believes that the games were massively beneficial to the players and their development.

24 players were used across both games, with three goalkeepers and 21 outfield players selected for the matches.

"We played against one of the top teams in Europe. The Dutch showed us the level we need to be at. Games like these will be helpful to our players going forward," said Harrison.

Despite the results, Harrison is already planning a return trip to the Netherlands next year.

"There is an agreement for us to travel next year. The Dutch hope to run a three-team tournament, involving both sides and one other nation at Under-14 level. That will be for players born in 2006, and we hope to play it in May 2020."

Harrison sees the games as a new era for the Emerging Talent Programme and hopes it can expand in the coming years.

"It's another step up for the ETP. Before now we played training games in-house, or against domestic opposition. Now we can provide these players international football," he said.

"My hope is that we continue to develop the programme. We have a pathway now from under-13s up to senior level."

FAI 2005 National Academy Squad
Shay O'Leary (Wexford Albion), Conor Walsh (Westport United), Fintan Doherty (Finn Harps), Alex Malone (Shamrock Rovers) Ryan Boyle (Ballyhaise Celtic), James Byrne (Belvedere FC), Luke O’Brien (Bray Wanderers), Daniel Kelly (Westport United), Sam Curtis (Shamrock Rovers), Roy Vitkevicius (Fermoy FC), Cain Byrne Dunne (Cherry Orchard), Joe O’Brien Whitmarsh (Cork City), Cian Barrett (Shamrock Rovers), Eanna Fitzgerald (Cork City), Kevin Zefi (Shamrock Rovers), Liam Murray (College Corinthians), Adam Murphy (Belvedere FC), Mark Tansey (Bray Wanderers), James McManus (St Kevin’s Boys), Mark O’Mahony (Cork City), Thomas Morgan (Shamrock Rovers), Jack Murray (Cherry Orchard), Darren Darcy (Salthill Devon), Giddeon Tetteh (Shamrock Rovers)

 

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