WILL IT be a hat-trick for Freebooters, or can another South-East side start their season by snaring some silverware?
That’s the question which will be answered in the coming weeks as the local junior soccer campaign sparks into action.
The Kilkenny & District League will kick-off proceedings with the Mock Lawlor Memorial Cup. The competition doubles as a fund-raiser for local charities which also honouring the memory of Freebooters stalwart Michael ‘Mock’ Lawlor.
Waterford’s Carrick United and Waterford Crystal, Carlow’s Crettyard United and St Pat’s Boys and Wexford’s North End United will travel to Kilkenny to try and take the title - but Freebooters, Evergreen and Callan United will be doing their bit to make sure the spoils stay at home.
Monies raised from this year’s Cup will go to the Carlow-Kilkenny Home Care team. Bucket collections will be held at all games, with all funds going to the good cause. Previous nominated charities were the Susie Long Hospice Fund and the St Mary’s Day Care Centre.
“The main reason for the tournament was that we wanted to give something back to the community,” said John Corrigan, chairman of the Kilkenny & District League. “Charity begins at home, so this is our way of doing that - although we change the chosen charity each year, the money will always stay local.”
Matches will be played under FAI rules with one exception: managers can use rolling subs throughout their 16-man squad. Matches will be 90 minutes long, with games going straight to penalties in the event of a draw.
Games will be covered by members of Kilkenny branch of the Irish Soccer Referees Society (KBISRS). In a neat tie-in to this year’s competition the KBISRS will celebrate its 50th anniversary this season - Mr Lawlor was a founder member of the branch in 1962.
The competition starts this evening (Monday) with the first of the quarter-finals. Eight teams will be in action over the next four nights including Freebooters, who will be hoping to retain the Cup for the third successive year. Games will be held at Derdimus and the Fair Green, home of Freebooters.
The quarter-final fixtures for the Mock Lawlor Trophy are (Kilkenny & District League teams in bold):
North End United (Wexford) v St Pat’s Boys (Carlow), Derdimus 7.15pm.
Carrick United (Waterford) v Evergreen, Fair Green 7.15pm.
Crettyard United (Carlow) v Callan United, Derdimus 7.15pm.
Freebooters v Waterford Crystal (Waterford), Fair Green 7.15pm.