03 Dec 2021

Time to bite the bullet!

KILKENNY clubs have been challenged to be decisive, and to bite the bullet if need be.

KILKENNY clubs have been challenged to be decisive, and to bite the bullet if need be.

The county’s withdrawal from the National Football League is back on the agenda, and the novel idea of a Kilkenny Colleges team to participate in schools competitions is part of the rescue package being proposed for the game locally.

The unusual steps being suggested to boost the lot of the big ball game in the county come from the Football Board, but already there is some confusion as to whether or not clubs have been circulated with the relevant discussion document.

The document containing some radical and broad ranging suggestions and viewed by the ’People was headed ‘minutes of Football Board meeting of Tuesday, May 1’.

The minutes, outlining nine suggestions on how football affairs here might be improved, are said to have been distributed to delegates at the last monthly meeting of the County Board, but a number of people contacted by this paper had no recollection of receiving them.

However, a discussion on the way forward for football in Kilkenny is on the agenda for the June meeting of the County Board and club delegates will be expected to vote on a range of issues and suggestions.

Opt out of League

Top of the wish list is idea 6 which suggests that Kilkenny “organise junior and under-21 competitions in conjunction with Croke Park during February, March and April as an alternative to the National Football League for 2013 and 2014”.

Clearly the local Football Board wants out of the League until 2015 at least, but whether Croke Park would allow that is not clear.

The county will plead inability to cope, and quote a string of embarrassing results over the years in a National League in which scoring averages leave teams chasing huge scores against them. Because of this, Kilkenny have suffered some severe beatings.

This season was particularly challenging for the Cats when they posted an average of four scores per game, but in the 2011 League they failed to register in one match against Leitrim.

According to my source, Kilkenny want to be given special status in football like some of the weaker hurling counties and they want finance to be pumped into the promotion of the game here at all levels by Croke Park and the Leinster Council.

The flow of financial support would commence at schools/colleges level. Kilkenny want to organise football coaching in secondary schools in conjunction with the Leinster Council.

This would lead to the introduction of Kilkenny Colleges’ teams at senior and junior level, much like the Dublin Colleges teams in hurling championships in recent times. The idea would be to field in ‘B’ colleges championships initially, with the idea of progressing to the ‘A’ divisions in the long term.

Get house in order

The document also calls for the introduction of an Adult Football Officer in the county who would work hand in hand with a six person committee (2 south, 2 city, 2 north) under the auspices of the County and Football Boards.

Ideas like the formation of a South East League for minor teams are also up for discussion, as is the introduction by the Leinster Council of round robin championships for weaker counties.

By way of getting their own house in order, the Football Board calls for the provision of Level I coaching courses for club officials in conjunction with the Leinster Council; the introduction of Go Games style football competitions at under-8 and 10 level and that four Divisional teams be picked after the completion of the local championships in October so interested players can be given additional competitive fare.

“There are enough ideas there for clubs to work on,” our source suggests. “Things can’t be let drift as they are. Clubs will have to be pro-active, because without their help and co-operation nothing can happen.”

The Kilkenny junior team is in action in the Leinster championship against Kildare in Newbridge this evening (Wednesday), but with limited training for the squad, hopes of a win are slim.

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