Weather claims unwanted hat-trick

Kilkenny soccer claimed an unwanted hat-trick after the local game suffered a third successive washout.

Kilkenny soccer claimed an unwanted hat-trick after the local game suffered a third successive washout.

Clubs were left kicking their heels for the third weekend in a row after high winds and stormy weather claimed all the fixtures at schoolboys, youth and junior levels.

“Having to call games off for three weekends in a row is something of an unwanted record,” said League chairman John Corrigan. “We’ve lost up to six weekends in other years, but to lose three out of the last four weeks is something I’ve never seen in my time with the League. However, we had no choice but to call games in the interests of public safety.”

With Kilkenny battered by Storm Darwin last week - at one stage parts of the county were hit by winds measuring up to 133kph - the League moved swiftly to scrap all the weekend’s games due to safety concerns.

Despite the cancellations, the local schedule is still relatively on track.

“Making an early start to season has certainly helped,” Mr Corrigan said. “We might even be a week ahead of schedule, but there are a few clubs who have been affected due to their progress in outside competitions (Freshford Town in Leinster Junior Cup run and Evergreen in the FAI Youths’ Cup).

Avoid midweek matches

With the League hoping to avoid playing midweek matches near the end of the season, they have made one or two changes in order to speed up the flow of games in some divisions of local competitions.

“The long-term forecast is not that good so we can’t afford to lose many more weekends,” the chairman said.

“With that in mind we have split the women’s and youths’ leagues into two divisions in order to speed up the completion of the competitions and increase the number of games the teams play. All options had to be considered for both of these competitions, as some of the teams involved are so far behind others.”

The Kilkenny & District League will also look at playing some games in the McCalmont Cup at early dates once the draw for the opening rounds is made this weekend.

The competition, the blue riband event of the local game, will kick in action shortly. The weekend of May 18 has already been pencilled in for the final.

Meanwhile no dates have been announced for the League’s three Shield finals.

It was hoped that the Women’s game would be played on the St Patrick’s Weekend, but the Kilkenny inter-league team will have their Leinster final on March 16.