Schoolboys League backs four Cork teams' bid to have National Cup finished

Schoolboys League backs four Cork teams' bid to have National Cup finished
Midleton's Ben Dumigan (second left) celebrates the winning goal with teammates against Kilmacrennan during the SFAI National Cup in early March. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

THE Cork Schoolboys League are backing the remaining clubs in the 2019-2020 Skechers National Cups as they battle to keep their hopes alive of concluding the prestigious competitions.

Midleton's U12s and U15s, Corinthian Boys U13s and Carrigaline U16s had all reached the business end of the tournaments before Covid-19 shut down sport nationwide.

Robert Leonard, Carrigaline United, is put under pressure from John O’Sullivan, Leeds, during their U16 National Cup match at Ballea Park. Picture Dan Linehan
Robert Leonard, Carrigaline United, is put under pressure from John O’Sullivan, Leeds, during their U16 National Cup match at Ballea Park. Picture Dan Linehan

There are 20 clubs through the country lobbying the Schoolboys FAI to finish them if the opportunity arises to so in a safe manner. The SFAI had originally stated that all competitions would be scrapped but since chairman John Earley indicated that a solution could indeed be found to facilitate the Kennedy Cup, for U14 representative teams.

Now, the question being asked is, if that's the case, why can't the SFAI Skechers National Cups be finished?

Cork Schoolboys League secretary Eddie Doyle sees no reason why the tournament can’t be played at the end of the summer. 

“The National Cup is the premier competition for all schoolboys’ clubs under the auspices of the SFAI. Countless players have travelled up and down the country with the goal of winning the tournament this year and a lot of these players may never get the opportunity to do so again.

“Speaking on behalf of the Cork Schoolboys League, we want to see all teams and players still involved in the competition have the opportunity to go on and play in a national final and we can’t see a reason why this can’t be facilitated by the SFAI. 

“To complete most National Cups requires three games as they are already at the semi-final stage with a few quarter-finals still outstanding." 

Daniel Mellerick, Corinthian Boys U13s, puts in a challenge on Jonathan McLaughlin, Douglas Hall. Picture: Larry Cummins.
Daniel Mellerick, Corinthian Boys U13s, puts in a challenge on Jonathan McLaughlin, Douglas Hall. Picture: Larry Cummins.

Doyle believes the young players deserve better. 

"Concentration and planning needs to be on how to complete this season’s tournament and not just to focus on the new season.” 

Cork were forced to pull the plug on their domestic competitions, as there were over 3,000 games outstanding across the various divisions. 

Doyle thinks the focus needs to be on how the National Cups can be run off, and not if. 

“The 20 clubs remaining in the competition have individually and collectively written to John Earley and the SFAI in relation to this and what they need is a definitive statement from the SFAI, outlining their ambition to finish the National Cups. 

“In addition, we have the Skechers Regional Cups to conclude within the Cork area and we are committed to completing this competition also.” 

Paul Gallagher, managing director of Skechers, is proud to sponsor the grassroots game. 

"We are delighted to be able to support competitions that cater for almost 100,000 players across the country. 

It is a great gesture for schoolboys’ football to see 20 clubs across the country getting together with a similar goal and it would be great if the tournament finished provided the measures are there for it to be done so safely for all involved.”

Midleton's Darragh O'Brien holds off the challenge from two Ennis Town players during the U15 National Cup game at Lakewood in February. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Midleton's Darragh O'Brien holds off the challenge from two Ennis Town players during the U15 National Cup game at Lakewood in February. Picture: Howard Crowdy

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