Clean slate... Cork soccer leagues opt to build towards the new season

Clean slate... Cork soccer leagues opt to build towards the new season
Gordan Walker, UCC, battling Evan Browne, College Corinthians, in the MSL Premier Division back in February. Picture: Jim Coughlan

THE Munster Senior League has decided to cancel the 2019/20 season as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cork's top amateur league followed similar moves by the Cork Schoolboys League, the Cork Women's and Schoolgirls Soccer League, the Cork AUL, and the Cork Youth Leagues to end the current campaign.

There was a chance, following the recent statement by the FAI on a pathway to a safe return to football, that the current season could be completed.

However, even if the local leagues received the go ahead from the government and the health authorities, competitions could only be completed in a short window between August 28 and October 11, with the new season set to begin on October 16.

Glen Sexton, James McSweeney and Andrew Kingston, Carrigaline Utd, trying to stop George Keating, Cobh Wanderers. Picture: Jim Coughlan
Glen Sexton, James McSweeney and Andrew Kingston, Carrigaline Utd, trying to stop George Keating, Cobh Wanderers. Picture: Jim Coughlan

MSL clubs had been polled on their views about completing the season or scrapping, with the majority of them opting for the latter.

The MSL, in a statement issued today, said:

“With the FAI announcement on Friday May 15, of a pathway for a safer return to football, we have examined different scenarios and have concluded that it will not be practical to finish the season in a safe and healthy environment.

“To try and complete all our competitions without the approval and co- operation of over 70% of our clubs would severely undermine their integrity.

“We acknowledge that some of our clubs will be disappointed with this outcome. However the uncertain health situation coupled with the democratic views of our clubs must be to the fore in any decision making.

“We hope this will afford all our clubs clarity in a very uncertain time for all.

“Clubs are reminded that the cessation of all adult amateur football under the jurisdiction of the FAI is extended to July 20 for all affiliates.

“Any return to football within our league will be with strict adherence to all health guidelines and all matters pertaining to season 2O2O/2011 will be communicated to clubs in due course.”

Bryan Murphy, Riverstown, challenges Leon Hennessy, Youghal. Picture: Jim Coughlan
Bryan Murphy, Riverstown, challenges Leon Hennessy, Youghal. Picture: Jim Coughlan

The decision to cancel all competitions is sure to be a disappointment for some clubs, with many close league races as well as promotion, and relegation battles to be decided.

Rockmount took control of top spot the in Beamish Stout Premier division with victory in their last league outing in March, a 5-0 win over Douglas Hall.

The northside outfit were also due to play in three cup finals, the Munster Senior Cup, the Keane Cup and the Donie Forde Cup, while they were expected to slug it out with Ringmahon Rangers for league honours.

For the Mahon outfit, though, the season may not yet be a complete washout.

Under the FAI's plan for a return to football action, a pilot programme for adult amateur and underage football is scheduled to take place from August 14-28, which could see the completion of the FAI Intermediate Cup, with Ringmahon set to face Killester in the semi-final.

This could only take place subject to health guidelines from the government.

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