MORE help is needed from clubs if soccer is to continue to flourish in Kilkenny.
That was the message from Brendan Lonergan, president of the Kilkenny & District League, when he addressed the crowd at their annual meeting.
“The big question is where are we going?” he asked the assembly. “The League nearly folded in the late 1960s – there has been a number of cracks in the last few years. It could go back to the 1972 situation, where we have to go back and form a new league.
“Clubs must have more interest in the League,” he said, describing the loss of interest in the League’s annual dinner dance as a ‘personal tragedy’. “We need the clubs to start looking for new committee members to help keep things running.
“The schoolboys’ section of the League must also be looked after, as at the minute there is a chaotic situation arising in the way clubs are calling games off,” the president continued. “Clubs also need to look at themselves when it comes to the awards night. When clubs win competitions and then don’t have members of that team present to accept the awards it’s an insult to the rest of the League.”
Talk of trophies also brought an interesting aside from Mr Lonergan.
“On the subject of trophies we have lost one this season,” he said. “The League may have to look at reintroducing a certificate of acceptance when handing out silverware. If that happens, as it used to the 1970s, clubs who win a competition will have to sign for the cup. If they don’t return by the first of April they would be fined something like E100 per day until they have it back.”
Mr Lonergan was also quick to compliment one outgoing member of the committee.
“I would also like to pay tribute to Jack Daly,” the president added. “He is taking time out from his role as registrar, and we in the League would like to thank him for all his work.”
Mr Daly’s role will be filled by P.J. O’Neill, who was elected as the League’s new registrar. All other officers were returned unopposed, sparking a request by the president for further assistance from the clubs.
“In closing I would like to reiterate the point of more help,” he said. “More people are needed at the top table to help the League out – no one club, player or manager is bigger than the Kilkenny & District League.”
Secretary Tom Mullins used his address to reflect on some of the highs enjoyed in Kilkenny soccer circles over the season. “I would like to thank all the League managers and selectors,” he said. “Starting with the Kennedy Cup team, we had the best finish to the competition in ten years at the competition.
“What can I say about Ronnie Grace and Peter Murtagh – they won an All-Ireland in a real thriller,” he added. “Winning the Youths title was the highlight of the League’s season, and the condition of a well-presented pitch in Castlecomer was a credit to the club and people of Deen Celtic. We also have a new all-weather pitch, which is the culmination of five years’ work at Derdimus.”
The secretary also spoke of change in competitions, starting with the lower age levels.
“Too many postponements have caused problems at schoolboy level in the League,” he said. “This may be a good time to restructure competitions with the new age alignments coming in for next season.”
And he echoed president Brendan Lonergan’s words of praise for the outgoing registrar.
“We’re losing a long-serving committee member in Jack Daly,” he said. “For over ten years Jack has been a driving force in working for an all-weather pitch at Derdimus – without him the League wouldn’t be where it is now.”