OLLIE WALSH, the manager of the Kilkenny & District League’s Oscar Traynor team, has drawn up a list of players for a crack at this season’s competition.
Now in his second season at the helm Walsh has delivered on his promise to bring the squad together as early as possible in order to increase Kilkenny’s chances of securing a sixth national title. A two-time winner of the competition as a player, Walsh is determined to return local pride to the competition and get Kilkenny back to the final for the first time since 2007, when David Ryan’s side were beaten by the AUL in Dublin.
“I always felt it was a huge honour to get called up for the Oscar Traynor squad,” he said when named manager in 2011. “If you’re playing junior soccer and want to improve your game playing in this competition is what everyone should be aiming for. If you want to move up to the next level, whether that’s playing at junior international level or get into the Airtricity League, this competition is a great stepping stone.”
City clubs Freebooters and Evergreen form the bulk of a 28-man preliminary squad - changes will be made as the season goes on - which has a mix of youth and experience. Oscar stalwarts Niall Andrews and James Kelly are included while there are places for brothers Edward and Emmet Nugent. Andrews is the sole survivor of the last Kilkenny team to win the Oscar Traynor Trophy - they beat Galway in the 2002 decider - while the Nugents are sons of four-time winner Jim (1997, 1999, 2001 and 2002), who also managed the side. Walsh has also called up Craig Cummins and Robert Skehan for training. Both were members of the league’s youths team that won the 2011 All-Ireland title.
The squad will have their first training session on Wednesday, September 5 at 6.30pm in Derdimus.
Training squad - Pierce Dargan, Jack Poyntz, Mathew Wong, Robbie Quan, Niall Andrews, Jamie Owens, Chris Whearty, David Grincell, Craig Eardley (Evergreen); Craig Cummins, James Kelly, Ger Hayes, Julian O’Keeffe, Derek Brennan, Damien Raggett, Paul O’Brien, Eddie Clifford (Freebooters); Andy Kavanagh, Robert Skehan, Stephen Connolly (Thomastown United); Tony Moran, Edward Nugent, Emmet Nugent (Fort Rangers); Bobby Maher, Ger Wall, Henry O’Neill (Newpark United); Eoin Wall (Callan United); Murty Broaders (Bridge United).