In the not too distant future, they fear a lost generation...
A group of boys who will, collectively, and instantly turn their back on Northern Ireland, their place of birth.
Without consultation or advice, minds will be made up.
They’ll heed the advances of the Football Association of Ireland and head straight for Dublin.
Little thought will be given to their realistic opportunities at international level — in their minds, it will be the Republic or nothing.
Derry men Darron Gibson and James McClean led the way, so they will follow and in big numbers.
In time, it will become the norm, not even a big deal, or newsworthy
The fact Pat Jennings, Martin O’Neill and Gerry Armstrong were all huge footballing giants for Northern Ireland will soon be lost to history while Paddy McCourt, Niall McGinn, Sammy Clingan could be the last of the recent crop.
The Northern Ireland team, of course, will suffer.
Read the full story only in tomorrow's Sunday Life.