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Youthful Bohs side begin historic UEFA Youth League journey

 

Bohemians have arguably led the way in terms of youth football in recent years, with multiple young stars like Warren O’Hora, Paddy Kirk, Daniel Grant and most recently Ali Reghba making the jump to the first-team setup.

Their bright U19 outfit, under manager Craig Sexton, have won the League title as well as the Enda McGuill Cup in the last year.

Winning the U19 league resulted in qualification for the UEFA Youth League, a branch of the UEFA Champions League for U19 teams. Bohemians have never had a side represent them in Europe at that age group, until now.

The tournament is quite complicated. 64 teams enter; 32 of Europe’s best academies enter a traditional group stage format of four teams and eight groups. 32 other teams, including Bohs, enter the “Domestic Champions” qualification pathway.

This pathway allows smaller countries’ academy sides a chance to play in Europe and potentially qualify for the UEL Knockout Phase. There are three qualifying rounds and finally, a playoff. Getting past the playoff means qualifying for the last 16 of the UEL.

Sexton’s Bohemians side play Danish outfit FC Midtjylland in the First Qualifying Round, and if they emerge victoriously, they will face a clash with FC Basel of Switzerland or Hamilton Academical of Scotland.

The first leg of Bohs’ fixture against Midtjylland, which took place in Denmark, finished 2-1 to the home side, meaning Sexton and his team take an away goal back to Dalymount Park in the second leg.

Eligibility rules mean key players like Daniel Grant and Jamie Hamilton cannot play, but Sexton is confident his attacking side will take the game to Midtjylland back home in Phibsborough.

Sexton was satisfied with his team’s display and is confident of qualification for the next round, which would be a brilliant achievement.

“I’d be hoping we’d have a big Bohs support behind us for the return leg. With a vocal Bohs support behind us, this will be a different proposition for Midtjylland in Dalymount,” Sexton said to Bohemians website.

The second leg will take place at Dalymount Park Wednesday, October 24th at 7 pm.

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