By Jamie Moore
It’s been a golden few weeks in the League of Ireland for a number of former Belvedere players.
Two former Belvo players who are now managers in the league guided their teams to the league title, while some ex-players also got their hands on league and cup gold.
Well done to Dundalk Manager Stephen Kenny for helping them to their first league title since 1995, and Tony Cousins who oversaw Longford Town’s First Division title win as they return to the Premier Division next season.
Former Belvo boy Keith Ward was a part of Dundalk’s league winning squad, while Chris Forrester added to his league winning medal with St. Pats last season, winning the FAI Cup.
Dundalk dominated the league for much of the season, playing brilliant football. But they had to beat Cork City on the final day of the season last Friday to clinch the league title, the 10th in their history. That follows their League Cup win over Shamrock Rovers last month. Former Belvedere player Keith Ward was a part of the squad, having started the season really well, he sustained a bad injury and didn’t play a part towards the end.
Dundalk finished two points ahead of Cork City with 74 points from their 33 games. They were also top scorers in the league with 73 goals and conceded the least amount with 24.
Stephen Kenny played for Belvo at U17 and U18 under Martin Cooke, Pat Quinn and the late great Noel O’Reilly. He won the LFA Youth Cup and the Pepsi Cup during his time at the club.
He played League of Ireland for St. Pats and Home Farm, who at the time were a League of Ireland club. He then became the youngest manager in League of Ireland history at the age of just 27 with Longford Town.
He has also managed Bohemians, Derry City and Shamrock Rovers as well as a spell in charge of Dunfirmline in Scotland. His teams have always tried to play football ‘The Belvo Way.’
He also won the league as Bohs manager in 2003, while he won four league cups with Derry, as well as the FAI Cup and the First Division title (after Derry had been relegated by the FAI for financial issues)
Stephen can look forward to managing in the Champions League next season, as Dundalk will aim to get through the qualification rounds.
Tony Cousins played for Belvo under Gerry Smullen and Matt Halpin at U16 and U17 before signing for Chelsea. He also played for Dundalk, Bohemians and Hereford United but played the majority of his career at Shamrock Rovers between 1996 and 2002, making 145 appearances. He was capped at international level at U19 and U21.
Tony has coached at a number of League of Ireland clubs, including Shamrock Rovers, Drogheda United and Kildare County. He was appointed as manager of Longford Town in 2009 and is the currently the longest serving manager in the league.
Longford won the First Division title this season having missed out in the promotion/relegation play-off last season. They finished eight points clear of second played Shelbourne, having won 18 of their 28 games.
Like Dundalk, Longford were the top scorers in their league, getting 56 goals while they conceded the fewest with 19.
Well done also to Chris Forrester, who won the FAI Cup with St. Pats over the weekend. They beat Derry City 2-0. Chris started and played almost the full game.
He played for Belvo at U17, winning the treble with one of the best teams in the club’s history.
Well done to all of the lads for their achievements this season, they got used to winning things at Belvo, and now they are at it again!