CORK Schoolboys League chairman Peter Connolly spent the last few weeks patiently awaiting the outcome of several FAI and SFAI meetings hoping the on-hold season could be salvaged.
Ultimately after the most recent statement, the Cork Schoolboys League 2019/2020 campaign has ended with immediate effect, a decision that Connolly sees as disappointing but one in the end which was necessary.
All the other soccer leagues in Cork have followed the CSL's lead, with September now the target for the beginning on the new campaign, while teams are permitted to return to full training from August 10. This is all on the basis of the Covid-19 crisis easing.
“Of course, there is a lot of disappointment that the season has come to an end but the recent SFAI directives effectively ended any chance of concluding the current campaign," said Connolly.
"It is unfortunate for many teams including the likes of the Cork U12 and Cork U16 teams who didn’t get to compete really but the communication from the coaches to players has been fantastic.
“Players have been thanked for their commitment and there really has been a touch of class in terms of the message to the players with a focus on the fact that they will come back stronger.”
Connolly was adamant that the health and safety of everyone remains as the number one focus and he also commented on the return date,
“Put simply, people’s health is more important than football and it is important to be patient at times like this. We knew it was going to be very difficult to find a solution in terms of schoolboys playing football in the near future but hopefully now we can focus on September and we will see players back enjoying themselves then.”
The most recent advice from the SFAI was ‘all member Leagues shall be eligible to recommence fixtures and football activity once the schools have reopened, the weekend of September 5-6 next being the most appropriate date'.
In doing so, the SFAI cancelled the staging of the 2020 Kennedy Cup and an agreement was also made to abandon the Skechers and Subway competitions. There is still some hope that those representative competitions may be run off over the winter months, again depending on how the return to regular action pans out.