THE END of Kilkenny’s junior soccer season is drawing closer, but there’s still plenty to play for at the finish line.
The race for the top prize in the Kilkenny & District League’s Premier Division could be settled on Sunday, as city neighbours Evergreen A and Freebooters A battle for the League spoils at the Kells Road (kick-off 11am).
Both teams will be sent out with the simple message - win, and the title is ours.
It’s winner takes all,” said Freebooters boss Sean Doyle. “It’ll be tight, as we’re both on the same number of points, but it’s a good way to end the season. In the last few years it’s been us and them in terms of going for the League, but everyone at the club is looking forward to Sunday’s game.”
Doyle’s side will be aiming to wrestle the title back from Evergreen. The last four campaigns have seen the two clubs swap the trophy back and forth year after year, with Deen Celtic (2006) the last team outside the city pair to win the Premier Division.
Reigning champions Evergreen who, like Freebooters, came through their McCalmont Cup semi-final unscathed on Sunday, will be hoping that they can make it two titles in a row for the club, and a first for new manager Eddie McEvoy.
“This is our first year in charge of the team,” said McEvoy who, along with Kevin Cashin and John Treacy, took over the reins of the A team at the start of the season. “We came in with the idea of building for the future - we have four youths in the first team squad, which has given us a good mix of youth and experience - but this has surpassed our hopes.
“We have two games left in our season - one to determine the league title, while the other is a cup final,” he said. “Who wouldn’t want to be where we are?”
Games between Freebooters and Evergreen have been tight affairs in recent seasons, a trend that has continued into the 2010/11 term. The sides shared the points when they met in August, Chris Whearty producing an 88th minute wonder strike to snatch a 2-2 draw.
Evergreen A have been goal-hungry all season, scoring 73 goals in their 17 games to date - the most of any team in all of the junior divisions. In contrast Freebooters A have been miserly in defence, conceding just nine goals in all their league games to date, the lowest number leaked by any team. The sides are locked on 47 points apiece at the top of the table, with neither side having lost a league game to date.
As the Kilkenny & District League do not use goal difference to determine title winners, only a win either way will see one team crowned League champions. Should they draw, a play-off will decide who takes the Premier Division crown.
Meanwhile, as both city sides look to end their season on a high, another club has bowed out of the League. St Pat’s Boys have decided to return to the Carlow League, having moved to the Kilkenny & District League in 2006.