Cork soccer: We survey AUL clubs about a return to action this summer

Cork soccer: We survey AUL clubs about a return to action this summer
The Glen Celtic side who are in pole position to claim the AUL Premier A crown if the season returns. Picture: Barry Peelo.

AUL correspondent Barry Peelo canvassed clubs in the league on what they believe is the best way forward as the sporting world gears up from a return from Covid-19 lockdown.

The government have outlined July 20 as the date in phase four of their plan for a return of soccer, depending on the regression of the virus, while the FAI are hoping teams can play again from August 28.

Don Cafferkey, manager of Donoughmore FC, is hoping the suspended 2019-'20 campaign will be concluded where possible. The window will be small for the AUL to do so, August 28 to October 11.

“The season should be played out or, at least finish off the cup competitions. I honestly believe there is also an opportunity to run football now on a calendar season which was an idea the FAI were looking at already.

“If we had a season that would run from March to November, it would provide clubs with greater benefits.

“We would not have the extra expense of having to pay for astro pitches to train or play in — due to the appalling weather conditions that we have been experiencing over the last number of years as we could train and play on our own pitches instead." 

Cafferkey feels now is the ideal chance to reboot the league to a summer schedule from 2021.

“There would be more football played to a point where a break for people doing exams could be afforded without any great problems. Above all, I believe, there would be way more consistency and continuity with the fixtures program which would pave the way for regular game time and not leave huge gaps between games played by some clubs versus games not played by others."

Co-managers for Glen Celtic, Mick Lynham and Derek Mellerick, were also very much in favour of continuing the season.

“We as a club would be very much in favour to re-activate the season, but of course once it is deemed safe by the Medical authorities to do so — even if that means going into late summer or early autumn.

“ I believe the sooner we get everyone back playing football again no matter what positions teams are in — in their sections, the better it would be for everyone’s well-being," said Mick.

Just for the record, their team Glen Celtic are hot favourites to clinch the Premier A title.

Grangevale captain Colin McKeown (right) welcomes Innishvilla B's captain Darragh Murphy, watched by referee Tony Thompson, earlier this season. Picture: Barry Peelo.
Grangevale captain Colin McKeown (right) welcomes Innishvilla B's captain Darragh Murphy, watched by referee Tony Thompson, earlier this season. Picture: Barry Peelo.

Grangevale’s Diarmuid O’Neill is another keen to forge ahead at the end of the summer.

“Our lads are absolutely starved of football at the minute and would really welcome the opportunity to play the game again when it will get the green light — pending a health and safety decision.

“A lot of them have taken to the roads and fields doing some running to keep fit, but this is not the same.

“If we are lucky enough to return as per plan on July 20 — all things going well, we would all be thrilled.

“We have a lot to play for as the team is in the mix to challenge for the second division title as well as being involved in the Corinthian’s Cup, so it would be nice to have the opportunity to keep the season alive if possible."

Derek Daniel, manager of Premier League leaders Knocknaheeny Celtic, doesn't think the league should be scrapped.

“I really believe we should go on to finish off the season in earnest as I believe a lot of football people will just want to get going again when it is feasible to do so.

Coachford's Ian Barry Murphy gets in his challenge on Knocknaheeny Celtic's Christy Driscoll. Picture: Barry Peelo.
Coachford's Ian Barry Murphy gets in his challenge on Knocknaheeny Celtic's Christy Driscoll. Picture: Barry Peelo.

“Obviously, we as a club are in a terrific position to go for honours this season as we are currently the Premier leaders and are in the final of the Mossie Linnane League Cup as well.

“But, no matter what, I think players all over will want to start kicking a ball again."

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