Some of the biggest prospects in European football will be strutting their stuff on Irish pitches in 2019 with the news that Ireland will host the European Under 17 Championships.
The FAI announced the news today with the president Tony Fitzgerald saying that it "brings to an end a remarkable year for Irish football":
The successes of our underage international teams, the performance of our men’s senior team at UEFA EURO 2016, the Dublin launch of UEFA EURO 2020 and being awarded this tournament are the highlights of a great year.
It's an age level at which Ireland have had past success, perhaps most famously in 1998 when Brian Kerr managed both the under-16 and under-18 teams to winning European Championship campaigns, taking charge of Richard Dunne, Robbie Keane and Gary Doherty.
It's unclear where exactly the matches involving the sixteen teams will take place. John Delaney thanked only Dublin city and county councils in the wake of the result, and perhaps that's an indication, but that is only speculation.
Hosting the 2019 tournament will whet the appetite ahead of Euro 2020, when the Aviva Stadium is set to be one of the host stadiums for the tournament's group games - the first time Dublin will have played host to matches on such a stage.
Who knows? Perhaps there is a current squad of thirteen- to fourteen-year-old young Irishmen destined to replicate Kerr's charges and reach the latter stages of a European Championships, this time on home soil. Either way, it provides a great opportunity for Irish football fans to witness the future Cristiano Ronaldos and Wayne Rooneys battle it out up close.
As Balls.ie's oldest 'League of Ireland' head, Dodge, points out, there were a few 'League of Ireland' grounds used the last time Ireland played host to the tournament (in its under-16 format). Although the RDS hosted the final between Denmark and Turkey (which Turkey won 1-0), Belfield Park (the old ground of UCD), Richmond Park, Dalymount and Turners Cross were also put to use in the course of the tournament.
The Republic of Ireland finished last in their group despite a 1-1 draw with England at Tolka Park, Stephen Neal Clemence and Brian Frawley getting the goals. England's team included Richard Wright and Emile Heskey, while Jamie Carragher was on the bench (wearing '9', bizarrely).