With the competition having placed on hold last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic – and with Barry-Murphy only taking up the EDS reins last month - the Youth League represents unchartered territory for City’s boss and players.
As such City couldn’t have made a better opening statement.
Despite going behind to a fourth minute goal, Barry-Murphy’s side showed class and composure to run out convincing winners at the Academy Stadium, with skipper James McAtee claiming a brace while Oscar Bobb (penalty), Sam Edozie and Tai Sodje were also on target.
And Barry-Murphy had nothing but praise for the way his young players went about their business.
“The unique nature of this competition and different nature of all the other competitions this season is brilliant for the players and covers a lot of different bases in terms of what they need for their development,” said the EDS head coach.
“Wednesday was a little bit of a trip into the unknown; both for me and the players with them also having not played in this competition before.
“The intensity was maybe a bit of a surprise to us early on, but we adjusted really but over the course of the game. I thought the lads’ application and skill level was superb.
“Having conceded so early, I thought our reaction was really good - and it was quite healthy to see how we reacted when the pressure was on.
“It was flawless; we stuck to the game plan and tried to dominate on the ball. I thought we were good.”
With a healthy crowd watching on at the Academy Stadium, City could have been forgiven for letting their heads drop after falling behind so early on.
But the boss said the way they responded and reacted in the face of adversity only augurs well for the group’s development going forward.
“I probably didn’t realise how big an occasion it was for the young players,” Barry-Murphy added.
“You could see the excitement from the opposition when they scored so early on.
“It was good for me to see that and get an understanding of what this competition means to the players.
“One of the key points that we are keen on is developing the players as much as we can and the longer we stay in this competition, the more development we get.
“It was a great experience for the players – it was a very good day for us.
“Overall, the players did really well. I thought it was a very good day.”