St Patrick's Athletic are delighted to announce an official partnership with Cherry Orchard FC.
This new agreement will see both clubs working together in the best interests of our young players moving forward during changing times in Irish football.
The Ballyfermot club join our other partners Crumlin United and Belvedere FC.
Cherry Orchard's Director of Football Karl Keogh, but first Saints Director of Football Ger O'Brien have been speaking StPatsFC.Com.
"We are really happy to officially announce this partnership with Cherry Orchard and we are very excited to have added one of the biggest schoolboy names in Irish football to our group of partner clubs."
"The agreement came about after long discussions with the Cherry Orchard committee and Karl. They have done a huge amount of work in recent years in Elmdale which will only help their young players moving forward and we are looking forward to working alongside them and helping to continue their good work developing young players."
St Pat's and Cherry Orchard have always had a good relationship, with a number of Orchard players joining our club.
Darragh Markey and Jack Bayly are currently in our first team, while five Cherry Orchard's U16 team from last season are now in our U17 squad.
Three of those, Harry Clarke, Kevin O'Reilly and Seanie Mahon, are currently away with the Ireland U16s at the Mayo Cup.
Ger plans to make that relationship even stronger.
"We've have had a really good relationship with the club down the years. We've signed some really good players from Cherry Orchard. Darragh, Jack and Jamie McGrath, along with the boys in our U17s have all done really well. We know they also have a very strong academy which they've been working hard on for years and have always produced top players."
"We are also planning to help Cherry Orchard and our other partners clubs in terms of coach education to help make their coaches better which helps the pathway and development of all of the players."
Cherry Orchard's Karl Keogh told us how the process went.
"It was a long process of discussions as it was really important for it to be right for the interests of both clubs. Our committee have worked hard along with Ger, Liam Buckley and the St Pat's staff and we are really happy to enter into this partnership."
"The main reason from our point of view was to protect the elite pathway for our players to elite football. Given the success of St Pat's in the last number of years with their U17s and U19s and also the amount of young players, including some of our former players, it will be of massive benefit to our club and that it is the right environment to put our players into."
Keogh says the changes in the structure of the League of Ireland was one of the reasons for this decision and that Pat's was their first choice.
"Cherry Orchard have always been renowned for producing players of the highest calibre for the professional game in Ireland and the UK and given how professional the set up is at Pat's, we felt they offered the best environment for our players to progress into. Irish football has changed and will continue to change with the League of Ireland U15 and U13 divisions coming along, so this is an important move for us."
"A lot of our players in recent years have signed for St Pat's and done really well. They've all had really good things to say about the environment there and we want to continue that. It makes sense for both clubs, as there has been un-written relationship over the years, now it's about kicking that on, making that stronger and hopefully having a lot of success going forward."
Ger explained how this new idea of having a number of partner clubs will actually work.
"Our working relationships with Crumlin and Belvedere have been really good. All of our teams trained in Pearse Park throughout the winter months and myself and our coaches have taken sessions at Crumlin. Some of the Belvedere teams have used our training facility in ALSAA and a number of their U14s and U15s have trained with our U17s. We plan to continue this along with Cherry Orchard and continue to develop it and make it stronger."
"Cherry Orchard are one of the clubs close to us location wise and along with Crumlin and Belvedere, we want to create good relationships with these players and their parents, we want them to be our next generation of fans. We want to offer the players from Belvedere, Crumlin and Cherry Orchard a pathway from those clubs into our Academy and ideally into our first team or across the water to the UK."
"We'll be working with all of the coaches and all of the players to create a strong St Pat's Academy brand which will help them develop their own careers too. We also have our strong link with Maynooth University from a scholarship and education point of view, this is another avenue that we can offer these young players are they grow older from an education point of view off the pitch."