The UEFA U17 Championships are coming to Dublin, Longford, Waterford and Wicklow this May and yesterday both the tournament ambassador John O’Shea and Tournament mascot Barry the Bodhran were out banging the drum about it.
There was plenty to talk about as well with the Aviva Stadium named as the venue for the draw which will take place on 4th April and the key tournament dates set out as well.
There will be four groups of four teams each with matches taking place across the seven venues between Friday, May 3rd and Friday, May 10th.
The Quarter Finals will take place on Sunday, May 12th and Monday, May 13th with the semifinals on Thursday, May 16th and the final taking place at the Tallaght Stadium on Sunday, May 19th.
The FAI also announced an initiative that will encourage schools in Dublin, Longford, Waterford and Wicklow to ‘adopt a nation’ once the Final Draw is made and each team knows where they will be playing.
School kids will be able to learn all about different countries, get creative with artwork, learn new songs, and bring plenty of colour and atmosphere to the games where their ‘adopted nation’ will be playing.
Schools who take part in the campaign will be able to avail of free bus transfers, ticket giveaways, and exclusive competitions ahead of the games.
There will also be a tour arranged to those schools where the tournament mascot, Barry The Bodhran, will visit along with the official trophy.
It’s a smart way of getting a sense of occasion and ownership within local communities for a tournament which will see some of the continents finest players grace pitches across Leinster.
Paul Pogba, Cesc Fabregas, Toni Kroos, Eden Hazard and Wayne Rooney are among the players to have taken part in tournament finals when they were starting out in their careers in international football.
Image Credit: Inpho.ie