League determined to have games for all ages

The annual meeting of the Kilkenny & District League may have had some disharmony (see back page), but clubs sang from the same sheet when it came to promoting the game for its players.

The annual meeting of the Kilkenny & District League may have had some disharmony (see back page), but clubs sang from the same sheet when it came to promoting the game for its players.

In a lively discussion at the Springhill Court Hotel, delegates at Monday’s reconvened meeting spoke at length on the structure of some under-age competitions for next season.

Following the suggestion that the League re-introduce an under-18 competition in place of the under-17 and under-19 categories, several clubs voiced their concerns that players would fall by the wayside if there were no teams there for their age groups.

While some clubs stated their preference for an under-18 competition, which would lead to strong panels, others were in favour of maintaining the status quo to ensure more players had games.

“Do clubs want cups or to participate?” Pat McAuley (Ormonde Villa) asked the meeting.

“Even if we could get just five or six team at under-17 level, I can’t see why we would deny these lads a league to play in.”

Fixtures secretary Paschal Bergin agreed with the point, adding that while the under-17 competition had been a success, the under-19 game was hampered as too many games had been called off during the season, which didn’t start until later in the year.

Retain format

Following a vote from the clubs, the League agreed to retain the under-17 and under-19 format for the forthcoming season.

In order to avoid clashes with other sporting fixtures, the League will look at starting the under-19 competition early than before to ensure clubs get games promptly.

Mention of fixtures also brought up a point on the number of walkovers given in some competitions last year.

The League had recognised this, chairman John Corrigan told the assembly, warning that ways would be explored to punish future offenders without damaging competitions.

“The problem of teams giving walkovers affects leagues of every level,” he said. “Clubs receive fines and are docked points, but both will be substantially increased.”

The debate on fulfilling games spilled into the junior section of the game, where clubs asked about the possibility of being furnished with advance fixtures for the season or part thereof.

The possibility of good runs for clubs in both the FAI and Leinster Junior Cups made posting a season-long list impossible, said Mr Corrigan.

Trial option

However, he did agree to a trial option of making a month-long list once the leagues got up and running, possibly for October.

Elsewhere, the early start to action for Premier Division clubs may be about to go through some changes.

While top flight clubs traditionally start with four rounds of league games over the opening fortnight, the League has said it will look at holding just two rounds of league games on the opening weekends, with Maher Shield matches played midweek. The idea was met favourably by clubs

Clubs were also reminded that all pre-season friendlies must be sanctioned by the League to ensure players are covered by insurance.

Permission for all matches must be given by the League, who can be notified of games by e-mail. Match cards must also be filled out as insurance companies look for these once incidents arise.