A NEW season of junior soccer will kick-off in Kilkenny with eight clubs competing for silverware and raising money for a good cause.
The curtain-raiser to the local campaign will see clubs from across the South-East compete for the Mock Lawlor Memorial Cup. Waterford’s Carrick United and Waterford Crystal, Carlow’s Crettyard United and St Pat’s Boys and Wexford’s North End United will travel to Kilkenny to try and take the title - but Freebooters, Evergreen and Callan United will be doing their bit to make sure the spoils stay at home.
Now in its third year, the competition is a joint venture between the Kilkenny & District League and Freebooters. The trophy is named after Mr Lawlor, a loyal Freebooters man who was president of the Fair Green outfit, while all monies raised go to local charities.
This year’s beneficiary will be the Carlow-Kilkenny HomeCare team. Bucket collections will be held at all games, with all funds going to the good cause. Previous nominated charities were the Susie Long Hospice Fund and the St Mary’s Day Care Centre.
Give something back
“The main reason for the tournament was that we wanted to give something back to the community,” said John Corrigan, Kilkenny & District League. “Charity begins at home, so this is our way of doing that - although we change the chosen charity each year, the money will always stay local.”
The tournament, which will be officially launched this Friday, begins when North End United take on St Pat’s Boys on Monday, August 6 at the Fair Green. Carrick United will play Kilkenny Premier Division champions Evergreen on August 7 in Derdimus, while McCalmont Cup winners Callan United meet Crettyard United at the same venue 24 hours later. The last quarter-final sees Freebooters, who are hoping to win the Cup for the third year in a row, go up against Waterford Crystal on the Fair Green on Thursday, August 9. All games kick-off at 7.15pm.
The Cup semi-finals will be held a week later, with the final down for the weekend of August 18 and 19 - the week before the start of the new Premier Division season.
Matches will be played under FAI rules with one exception - managers can use rolling subs throughout their 16-man squad. Matches will be 90 minutes long, with games going straight to penalties in the event of a draw.
Games will be covered by members of Kilkenny branch of the Irish Soccer Referees Society. In a neat tie-in to this year’s competition the KBISRS will celebrate its 50th anniversary this season - Mr Lawlor was a founder member of the branch in 1962.
The referees will hold a celebration dinner-dance in the Springhill Court Hotel on September 7. Tickets are available from any member of the society.
To mark the golden anniversary, the Irish Referees’ Council will hold a national meeting in the hotel on September 8. Other founder members of the KBISRS included Pat Maher and Terry Cullen - both have awards named in their honour in Kilkenny - as well as Milo Grogan, Tom Hogan and Joe Doyle.