Cork City U19 manager Stephen Bermingham is confident the Rebel Army young guns can claim victory as they become the first Irish side to compete in the Uefa Youth League.
They face HJS Helsinki in a first-leg tie in Finland tonight (5pm Irish time).
The SSE Airtricity League U19 champions will be Ireland’s first representative in Europe’s elite youth competition after they qualified through the ‘domestic champions’ route. The winners of this two-legged first-round tie will meet either APOEL Nicosia or Roma.
Bermingham’s squad travelled to the Finnish capital yesterday with a mixture of U19 and U17 players in the squad and they will train at the Sonara Stadium.
The Cork coach said: “The lads are really looking forward to it. We’ve had a good journey over and the lads are feeling refreshed, with a lot of excitement in the camp.”
Cork have already wrapped up the SSE Airtricity U19 League Southern Division this season and claimed a 2-0 victory over St Patrick’s Athletic to lift the Enda McGuill Cup this month.
Bermingham said the cup final victory has given his players plenty of confidence going into the European tie but has praised the quality of the opposition.
City will be Ireland’s first-ever representative in the competition. With the second leg on October 19 (kick-off 7.45pm), Bermingham wants his side to take a positive result back home.
He said: “We want to get a positive result so we can bring it back to Turner’s Cross and I know the group are fully capable of that.
“I’m sure Cork City supporters will come out in their numbers to support us in the second leg.”
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