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Wednesday 01 May 2024
Academy graduates to grace Scottish YouthCup Final

Four graduates from the Irish FA’s JD Academy will compete in Scotland’s Youth Cup Final tonight. 

Rangers take on Aberdeen at Hampden Park in Glasgow with a 7.05 kick off. 

The Gers squad features JD Academy graduates Mason Munn, Blaine McClure and Callum Burnside, with Aberdeen’s Brendan Hamilton making up the quartet.

All four are current Northern Ireland internationals at U17/18 and U19 level. They follow in the footsteps of fellow graduate Fra Turley, who lifted the cup with Celtic last year. 

Irish FA Head of Elite Development Andy Waterworth said: “This is more evidence of the success of our pathway. These players have equipped themselves really well during their time with us and it is great to see them flourish at the elite end of Scotland’s youth game.

“As ever we pay great praise to academy staff and domestic academy coaches and volunteers at their clubs during their time in Northern Ireland.”

The JD Academy is Northern Ireland’s only full-time residential academy for young footballers. Currently based at Ulster University’s Jordanstown campus, it is operated by the Irish FA in conjunction with the university, with support from UEFA. It is focused on developing emerging talent at school years 11 and 12 (U15 and U16).

“The players are still in the infancy of their journey,” said Waterworth, who will be in attendance at tonight’s game. 

“But, as an association, it’s heartening to know that at least one of our academy graduates will have their hands on that famous trophy come full-time tonight.”