Successful season for clubs, but problems blight local league

SEASONAL SUCCESS and hope for the future were some of the key points in the Kilkenny & District League’s seasonal review, but other problems must be tackled if the local game is to flourish.

SEASONAL SUCCESS and hope for the future were some of the key points in the Kilkenny & District League’s seasonal review, but other problems must be tackled if the local game is to flourish.

In his first address as chairman, John Corrigan told the assembly at the annual meeting of the Kilkenny & District League that were some good points to look back on, not least the smooth ending to the season’s multitude of competitions.

“Owing to weather we had a good run at the junior and schoolboy/girl leagues with every competition finishing early,” he said. “I would like to congratulate all winning and promoted teams and wish them well for next season.”

The success wasn’t reflected on the inter-league front, but recovery shoots are beginning to show.

“This past season the committee appointed Ollie Walsh as manager of the Oscar Traynor team,” he said. “While we did not advance as far as we would have hoped the commitment Ollie received from players was very encouraging. It augurs well for the future, as Ollie has been reappointed for next season.

“Likewise at youths’ level Ronnie Grace’s team gave a good account of themselves before surrendering their All-Ireland crown,” he added “but the panel was decimated by defections to other leagues.

“At schoolboys’ level the development of young talent continues, but whether it is for the betterment of local football has yet to be proven,” he said.

“To all our managers and coaches, well done on the playing and training side. I still have concerns about other facets of the venture.”

Fixture problems

One area the chairman did focus on was trouble arising over fixtures problems in parts of the game.

“In the women’s game the junior side of the league is continuing to function,” he said. “There is good interest in all competitions, but the downside is that some teams still think that picking up a phone is all that’s needed to cancel a game or change kick-off times.

“As in the junior men’s section, game times are fixed and referees appointed,” the chairman reminded clubs. “There will be no changes.”

The past season also saw a similar problem at schoolgirl level.

“The schoolgirls’ game is still causing headaches for the fixtures secretary and league secretary,” he added. “Cancellations and walkovers are upsetting the freeflow of the league. It is up to clubs to stop this practice or the game will suffer.”

On a more serious note, the chairman spoke of a problem which has ‘reared its ugly head’ in the local game.

“There has been an increase of assaults, both physical and verbal, in the last season,” he said. “This will not be tolerated by the league management.

“All measures available - such as suspensions, ground closures and expulsion from the Kilkenny & District League - will be utilised to stamp this problem out. We have the full backing of the Leinster FA and the FAI in this matter.”

The rise of another problem, a web-related matter, was also mentioned.

“Also on my list of bad points is the use of social media, such as Facebook, to attack the credibility of members of the league management and for referee-bashing,” he added. “I would advise people to check the FAI Rule 94 and to look at the sanctions facing them if this is continued.”

Mr Corrigan closed his address by thanking all club officials and referees for their work over the season, paying special tribute to two of his committee colleagues.

“I make no apology for singling out our secretary Tom Mullins for special mention,” he said. “We are truly thankful for the amount of computer, paper and manual work he does for us every year.

“We are also sorry to be losing one of our long-serving committee members,” he concluded. “After 17 seasons of sterling work Gerry Dunne is stepping down. We wish him well in whatever path he follows.”