Clubzone: The aim of Leeds AFC Cork is football for all

Clubzone: The aim of Leeds AFC Cork is football for all
Mark Cashman, Leeds AFC Under 15 Squad manager, keeps an eye on, Daniel Murphy and Sean O'Sullivan, during training. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Leeds AFC Cork was formed in 1986 by the Buckley Family - avid Leeds United fans, hence the name - to provide a football team to the Ballyvolane, Dublin Hill and surrounding areas.

In the 31 years since, the club has grown to be one of the most successful and well-known in Cork with 300 members and another 100 involved in the underage Academy.

Sean Cashman, Leeds AFC Under 15 Squad, during training. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Sean Cashman, Leeds AFC Under 15 Squad, during training. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

The club is very close to the local community says vice chairman Ger Meany.

“The club is hugely connected to the community,” says Ger.

“We see ourselves as providing a sporting outlet to the youth of the area in a safe and friendly environment. Local businesses have always been very supportive of the club in supporting draws and events and for that we are very grateful.  

“We have annual awards for the schoolboys, a Christmas party for the academy,  a blitz for the underage players along with several events such as quiz nights, last man standing competitions, bag packing and a Golf Classic coming up on September 14," he adds.

Leeds AFC Under 15 Div 3 Squad, warm up at training. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Leeds AFC Under 15 Div 3 Squad, warm up at training. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

The club's reputation is such that players are attracted from all over Cork and beyond.

“We are a predominantly local club but do have quite a few players come from the southside and county areas as well,” says Ger.

“Last year we had a goalkeeper based in Dublin who traveled to Cork for games,” he adds.

Damien Byrne and Declan Feagan, Leeds AFC Senior Management team, on the line during the Keane Cup game against Casement Celtic. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Damien Byrne and Declan Feagan, Leeds AFC Senior Management team, on the line during the Keane Cup game against Casement Celtic. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Ger says the club is open to players of all abilities.

“Ability is not the main aim of our club. Our club motto is 'Football for All' and we also have COPE teams who play their home games at Leeds Park. The club wants to promote football with players who have certain disabilities but still want to enjoy a game of football and being part of a club,” says Ger.

Leeds is one of the most successful clubs in Cork and in its short existence has won over 90 leagues and cups. The club's schoolboys won all underage leagues at all age groups in 1997 - a remarkable achievement and the 2016/17 season saw doubles scooped by the junior and over 35 teams.

John Quirke, Leeds Committee member, Sean Burke, Junior Manager, Michael Hourihan, Leeds Secretary, Billy O'Riordan, Leeds PRO, Ger Meaney, Leeds Vice Chairman, at the Keane Cup game against Casement Celtic. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
John Quirke, Leeds Committee member, Sean Burke, Junior Manager, Michael Hourihan, Leeds Secretary, Billy O'Riordan, Leeds PRO, Ger Meaney, Leeds Vice Chairman, at the Keane Cup game against Casement Celtic. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Recognisable names who have worn the Leeds shirt include ex Cork City players, George O'Callaghan, Greg Halloran, Roy O' Donovan.

“We have also had a few players get international recognition such as Kenneth Coleman, Cian Coleman and Sean O' Callaghan recently,” says Ger.

The club has recently appointed a director of football and plans are afoot to ensure the club's growth into the future.

“We are now looking at getting ladies and girls more involved in the club,” says Ger.

“We are also currently in the process of trying to revamp our all weather pitch and hope to be in a position to start work on this in the very near future,” Ger adds.

The club is very active online with a regularly updated website and Facebook page.

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