Nine players from Laois clubs will represent the Midlands Schoolboys League at the Kennedy Cup which begins on Monday.
Portlaoise AFC lead the way with four players while they are followed by Mountmellick and Abbeyleix Athletic who have two each while Clonaslee provide one.
David Olubowale, Darragh Kelly, Aaron Brennan and Ben Dempsey are the four from Portlaoise while Josh Flynn is Clonaslee’s representative.
Finn Culleton and Jamie Sales make up the Mountmellick duo while Abbeyleix are represented by Ben Freeman and Lawson Obulor.
The UMBRO Kennedy Cup Tournament is the most prestigious underage soccer competition in Ireland.
It is held annually in Limerick University and attracts scouts from all over the world who come to pick out potential talent.
Each of the 32 affiliated Leagues enters a squad of twenty U-14 year-old players to compete over an entire week with additional competitions for those teams which do not progress to the latter stages of the Kennedy Cup itself.
Last year, the Midlands finished as runners up in their group which placed them into the Bowl section of the draw.
Following an opening day loss to Limerick Desmond, the MSL bounced back with a 3-0 victory over Limerick District and a draw against the Clare League.
This meant that they were seeded second for this year’s competition where they have been drawn alongside two of their neighbours, Kilkenny and Carlow, along with Limerick Desmond.
They begin on Monday against Kilkenny before facing Carlow and Limerick Desmond on Tuesday. They must top the group to progress to the last 8 of the Kennedy Cup.
All second placed teams go into the Bowl, third placed teams head for the Shield while the sides that finish last in their group will progress to the Trophy competition.
The Midlands Schoolboys League’s best ever finish at the competition came in 2015 when the ended up in fifth place.
That year, they went through the whole competition unbeaten in regulation time with their only defeat coming on penalties against eventual runners up the Dublin District Schoolboys League.
In the end, the MSL came home with the Shield title after defeating Galway 3-1 in the decider. Another such performance would be brilliant.
MSL Kennedy Cup Squad 2017
Jamie Mulkearns (Raharney)
Jack O’Donnell (Mullingar Athletic)
Charlie Mitchell (Tullamore Town)
Eoghan McConnell (Tullamore Town)
Josh Flynn (Clonaslee)
Alex Egan (Tullamore Town)
Finn Culleton (Mountmellick)
Ben Freeman (Abbeyleix)
Lawson Obulor (Abbeyleix)
Eoin Gavin (Tullamore Town)
Blake Ryan (Tullamore Town)
Ben Dempsey (Portlaoise AFC)
Aaron Brennan (Portlaoise AFC)
Matthew Whittaker (Willow Park FC)
Glory Odunze (Kinnegad Juniors)
David Trainor (Tullamore Town)
Darragh Kelly (Portlaoise AFC)
Lochlann Quinn (Birr Town)
Jamie Sales (Mountmellick)
David Olubowale (Portlaoise AFC)