SSE Airtricity League Premier Division club Bohemians have officially launched their pathway partnership with St Kevin's Boys.
The new agreement will see both clubs enter a joint team, managed by Ger Browne, into the SSE Airtricity U-15 League which gets underway in March and another joint side will enter the U-13 league in March 2019.
A number of current Republic of Ireland internationals have graduated from both clubs; former Bohs boys Stephen Ward and Matt Doherty while Jeff Hendrick and Robbie Brady both played in the famous tangerine shirt of St Kevin's.
Bohemians President Chris Brien thanked St Kevin's Boys for their commitment before explaining why he thinks the move will turn out to be a very successful one.
"While our elite section has been successful to date with our previous link to the NDSL, I believe we can move to a different level with this partnership. St Kevin's have produced a number of outstanding players over the years and this partnership gives a clear pathway for their players to go from schoolboy football, through the elite teams all the way into the senior team. It also means that Bohemians are getting excellent young players at all levels. It is a definite win-win situation for both clubs.
"Players will also win. They can now see their future stretch before them and there is no rush to try and get a move abroad. They can remain in Ireland, complete their education and still play football at an elite level. If they do eventually move abroad they will be more mature and, hopefully, be better prepared to handle the situation."
"We at St Kevin’s Boys Club are delighted that this strategic partnership has been agreed," commented St Kevin's Football Director Ken Donohoe. "It is an opportunity for both clubs to further grow and present a clearly defined pathway for coaches and elite players from the youngest age groups at foundation level right through to the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division and beyond using the expertise within both clubs that have made them so successful in their respective spheres up to now.
"The complementary nature of this partnership will be unmatched as the full weight of experience of nearly 60 years that SKB have gained at schoolboy level is aligned to the tradition of one of the giants of League of Ireland football in Bohemian FC.
"Both clubs have a strong history of developing some of the finest players that the country has produced. This partnership will only enhance that and it will create opportunities for players from both clubs to maximise their potential in a highly professional and competitive environment.
"St Kevin’s, like Bohemians, also provide football for as many players as possible regardless of ability outside of elite level and both clubs are committed to continuing that policy."