Celebration time for league of champions

Many eyes may have been on Munich and a certain match on Tuesday of last week, but a corner of Kilkenny was more concerned with deciding some of its own champions at the same time.

Many eyes may have been on Munich and a certain match on Tuesday of last week, but a corner of Kilkenny was more concerned with deciding some of its own champions at the same time.

The Kilkenny Floodlit League began their wind-down on another successful season when four sides came together to compete for the last two pieces of silverware on offer.

The Loreto Secondary School’s all-weather pitch was the venue, with the Floodlit Cup and Shield up for grabs. In what proved to be a tense evening, penalties turned out to be the deciding factor in both finals - but in different circumstances.

The Floodlit Shield was an all-Division Two affair, with Brennan’s of Johnswell taking on Manning Travel. Both sides had good league seasons - Brennan’s won promotion as runners-up to the Team of Gary Breens; Manning may join them in Division One if they beat Continentals in a relegation-promotion playoff - but Brennan’s ended their campaign with some silverware after a penalty shootout.

The big title of the evening, the Floodlit Cup, was also decided from 12 yards. This time Paul Delaney was the hero, scoring a spot-kick as Ossory United beat Woodsgift’s Valley Ramblers to lift the spoils.

“The finals were tense,” Eamon Cleere, league organiser, told the ’People, “but we had deserving winners. Ossory had a good league campaign and beat Cup favourites Egan’s on their way to the final, while Brennan’s had a double to celebrate after winning promotion.”

On the pitch, the league drew to a close on Monday evening, when Continentals took on Manning Travel for the right to play in Division One next season. There was still time to decide one more title, with Kitchen Solutions taking on the half-Tipp/half-Kilkenny contingent from Cronin’s Garage in the Division Two/Three Cup final.

Strong and Balanced

“We had a really good spread of trophies this season,” said Mr Cleere. “The competition has become very even across the three divisions, with some strong and well-balanced teams the whole way throughout.”

The curtain will come down fully tonight (Thursday) when the league holds its awards night in The Set Theatre at 10pm. Kilkenny hurler Jackie Tyrrell, who has also featured in the League for the past number of seasons, will be the guest of honour for the event, which will toast its winners, runners-up and top players, while also playing its part for charity. The League has been a long-time supporter of the O’Neill Centre, helping to raise money for the centre each year.

“It will be good to see the teams and players get rewards for their hard work, but football isn’t the only benefactor,” Mr Cleere finished. “While our first goal has always been football, it’s nice to be able to donate money to a worthwhile cause as well.”

While the 2014/15 season is over, work has already begun on the 2015/16 campaign. Registration forms will be sent out to all teams in July, with newcomers welcome to join in. Applications are available from Eamon Cleere, tel 087-9582127.