After last weekend’s 4-0 trashing of Bray Wanderers, Waterford United’s under-19s became the first side to secure their place in the knockout phase of the under-19 league.
Goals from Mikie Rowe, Ross Fitzpatrick, Ethan Boyle, and Daryl Power saw the Blues run out easy winners against the Wanderers, as they continued their impressive league run.
Speaking exclusively to Pundit Arena LOI, Waterford midfielder Ethan Boyle discussed how happy everyone is to have secured their place in the knockout stage – where the top four sides from the Northern & Southern divisions compete to decide the overall national champions – but insisted that the Southern Division is still a priority for the club.
“We are all obviously delighted to have secured our place in the next phase, but it would be really disappointing if we weren’t to go on and win the Southern Elite Division as well. We have done so well all season, so not to take the top spot would be quite upsetting,” Boyle said.
“Not only does winning our own division give us confidence going into the next round, it also means we would have an easier run in the next round of games.”
Ethan, a Wexford native, has also figured prominently in the club’s senior side and said that his time with the first team, like many of his team-mates, has proved hugely beneficial.
“It has helped all of us. There is a big difference between the u-19 league and the First Division. For those of us who have been playing with the first team, it has been a great experience. There is a good group of players there and they are great for giving us advice,” Ethan, who turned 18 last month, said.
“When you are surrounded by a group of players with such talent, you have to keep improving. I think you can see that in our u-19 games, there is a level of maturity there.”
Boyle has recently been called up to the Ireland squad, having been picked to play in the Centenary Shield.
“It is always an honour to be called up to play for your country at any level. The Centenary Shield will be a really competitive competition but I can’t wait for it. It’s going to challenge me and force me to improve further.”
David Pheasey, Pundit Arena
Featured image By Hoops341 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons