Ireland to host European Under 17 Championship finals in 2019

FAI CEO John Delaney said it was a "testament to the great work that has been done in partnership with all those who have pledged support with our bidding process"

BY Newstalk 16:47 Sunday 11 December 2016, 16:47 11 Dec 2016

Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne 

Ireland is set to the European Under 17 Championship finals in 2019, it was announced on Sunday afternoon. 

The 16-nation tournament comes to Irish shores and "marks a huge stepping stone for the FAI’s co-hosting of UEFA EURO 2020, as well as reinforcing Ireland’s growing reputation of running major international football tournaments", the FAI said today.

Welcoming the news, CEO John Delaney said: "This is great news for Ireland and it is, once again, testament to the great work that has been done in partnership with all those who have pledged support with our bidding process.

"In particular, I would like to thank all of the Dublin regional council authorities, Dublin City Council, South Dublin County Council, Fingal County Council and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, who were tremendous supporters throughout this process.

"This is a prestigious tournament and will bring the best European underage talent to these shores for what will be a memorable football occasion for all of Ireland."

Ireland are also co-hosts for the European Championships in 2020 and the IRFU have also put their bid forward to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

"This achievement, in gaining one of the most prestigious underage football tournaments, brings to an end, a remarkable year for Irish football," said FAI President, Tony Fitzgerald.

"The successes of our underage international teams, the performance of our men’s senior team at UEFA EURO 2016, the Dublin launch of UEFA EURO 2020 and being awarded this tournament are the highlights of a great year."

FAI Director of High Performance Ruud Dokter said the awarding of the 2019 tournament to Ireland marked the end of an "excellent year for underage football in this country". 

"This announcement comes on the back of the successes of our Under 17s and Under 19s for both men and women, who have qualified for the Elite Rounds of their respective UEFA European Championship campaigns," said Dokter.

"This news from UEFA is extremely positive for Irish football. Hosting the UEFA European Under 17 Championship Finals in 2019 perfectly fits in with everything we are trying to do with the development of our players.

"We have so much in place now with the progression of the National Leagues, from Under 15 through to Under 19 level, developing the elite pathway for young players in this country. There have been many examples of our young players progressing, such as Cork City excelling in the UEFA Youth League, and this tournament will mean Irish people will get to see the best young players in Europe.

"It's a collective responsibility for everyone involved in Irish football to make the finals a success. It is also an opportunity to build our infrastructures and ensure our venues and training facilities are at the highest level possible also."

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