Nenagh AFC’s All-Ireland conquering junior soccer team have been honoured by Tipperary County Council for their success in this year’s FAI Umbro Youth Cup.
The team was given a civic reception in the town’s Civic Offices hosted by the Cathaoirleach of Tipperary County Council, Cllr Michael Fitzgerald and attended by councillors and the FAI’s chief executive John Delaney for their exploits in defeating Evergreen FC of Kilkenny on penalties last May.
The team was presented with a scroll in mmemory of the occasion after the civic reception was formally proposed by Cllr John Carroll and seconded by Cllr Seamus Morris.
Cllr Morris recalled that when Nenagh AFC embarked on its ambitious project to build Brickfields on the Old Birr Road, the club had only 30 members, but that was now stood at 475. He also pointed out that the club fielded only three teams at that time but this had now rocketed to 24 teams because the facilities were there.
“The youth team are an absolute credit to the club and that is down to hard work and management and to John Delaney who has put so much into developing the grassroots,” he said. “The emerging talent programme has changed the way we look at soccer.”
Cllr Fitzgerald said: “Nenagh AFC was founded in 1951 and having briefly read your proud club history, you have stood the test of time and come through to record your most successful year since you started out. I want to acknowledge and pay tribute to all associated with Nenagh AFC, the managers, all the people.
Accepting the signed scroll on behalf of Nenagh AFC, Dave Rooney outlined the kind of support that had brought the club success.
Between winning the quarter-final in Donegal and hosting the semi-final at home three weeks later, the club raised E20,000 to bring Brickfields to the acceptable level and the committee fenced off the pitch as was required.
“At the time we didn’t have two shillings to rub together, let alone a football,” he said.
He revealed that the team had scored 158 goals and conceded 21 in all competitions, with 47 coming in the cup competition.
“We had only two scored against us and one of those was a dodgy penalty,” he said to laughter..
FAI chief John Delaney said it was a “tremendous day for a Tipperary club to win an All-Ireland against a Kilkenny club”.