Another big achievement by next year’s u10 squad was achieved recently with the boys winning the DB Summer Cup in Ireland.
The tournament is the largest competition of its kind in Ireland involving 14 clubs from Northern Ireland and 14 from the Republic along with the two Chesterfield academy sides.
The boys hit the ground running winning both their first two group games in confident fashion before some tougher games against Home Farm and Shamrock Rovers concluded their group stage fixtures.
With four wins out of four both Spireites sides topped their groups, qualifying for the elite knockout competition and progressing into the quarter-finals.
For the Chesterfield white side it was Manchester City's associated side Cherry Orchard and after an early goal from our boys they turned on the style and dominated the ball, providing plenty of entertainment for the spectators watching with lots of goalscoring opportunities and skills on show, leading to a comfortable win.
Chesterfield blue side faced Home Farm, a historic club having producing a number of international and Premier League players in recent years.
After falling behind early Chesterfield rallied and got back level through a good passing move and tidy finish from Johnny Davis before pushing on to run out three goals winners.
The results meant the two Chesterfield sides met in the semi-finals and so it was time for the battle of the Spireites as we met each other.
In what was the most tactical game of the day, neither set of players were willing to take a risk and when Callum Bedford picked up possession his pace and power followed by a great strike was the piece of quality needed to put Chesterfield blue ahead.
The whites responded and threw everything at the blues and when a ball went into the box, pinball ensued and it dropped to captain Wills Earnshaw with the last kick of the game to level, sending the game to a penalty shootout.
The sportsmanship that followed is what Chesterfield academy is all about as when the referee asked the boys to line with their teams on the half way line the boys refused to separate and linked together as one and not only didn’t celebrate a penalty miss they encouraged each other to score and with comments such as “We are one team one of us wins that’s all that matters”, it showed the type of boys we have. The penalties went to sudden death and Chesterfield whites went through.
Cue the Champions League music as St Kevins Boys and Chesterfield whites were led to the pitch. Straight from the kick-off an error and Chris Cullen intercepted a pass and put the Spireites 1-0 up, this followed a couple minutes later with a quick freekick from Adam Bush catching the St Kevins players out and it was 2-0 to the Spireites.
St Kevins being the big club they are had some good players of their own and didn’t lie down, eventually getting one back and while under immense pressure and a swift counter attack from our boys and its was 3-1 with ten minutes to go.
Despite being camped in our own half and a second St Kevins goal the young academy Spireites held on to win 3-2 and lift the cup.
Lead coach on the trip, Darren Molloy, spoke about the successes of the trip:
“The boys enjoyed the experience immensely, some went to Croke Park to watch the GAA, others into Dublin as the social aspect is hugely important off the pitch as well as on.
This, topped off with the style of football which they played throughout the tournament, leaves me and the club incredibly proud of them all and it shows the high standard we have within the club.
If anyone is ever in any doubt of the work the academy does, then come and watch our young players and enjoy the creativity they play with.
The most pleasing part of the trip was when people came up and asked about our boys and what we do as a academy that gets our players to that level of composure on the ball.
Impressions have already opened up new opportunities, with tournament offers being made already in Germany, Holland and Spain and the academy has real momentum at the minute with the youth players in and around the first team - and this is being reflected right down through all the age groups"