Cork Schoolboys League chairman seeks clarity on when young players can return

Cork Schoolboys League chairman seeks clarity on when young players can return

Padraig McGrath of Corinthians controls the ball ahead of Yanik Peleke of Ringmahon Rangers during the Skechers U14 Premier Division in October. Picture: Howard Crowdy

CORK Schoolboys League chairman Peter Connolly is looking forward to the return of schoolboy’s football but as yet it remains unclear when that return will be.

Connolly spent last week hoping a return to action would be confirmed but the FAI’s steering group have yet to clarify if all schoolboys can return to competitive football.

Of course, the CSL are not on their own in this regard. Players, managers, clubs and a host of associations continue to await instruction from the FAI but as of yet, the possible resumption of football for the 2020/2021 season remains in the balance.

The hope from everyone involved in the game is that update comes soon and advice in relation to a return to action is given by the FAI.

Connolly is hopeful a solution will come soon but he is adamant that the health and safety of everyone must continue to be the main focus.

“The Cork Schoolboys League continues to wish everyone good health and safety now and we will be doing everything to protect our players and their families.

”In terms of the young players of Cork having the opportunity of playing football on a competitive basis again, that still remains unclear and I must admit we are disappointed at the lack of clear instructions at the moment.”

Peter Connolly, CSL chairman, presents the 'Man of the match award' to Lakewood's Darragh O'Connell after the U13 Local Cup final at Turner's Cross in 2016. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Peter Connolly, CSL chairman, presents the 'Man of the match award' to Lakewood's Darragh O'Connell after the U13 Local Cup final at Turner's Cross in 2016. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

The FAI has asked for patience in the past but Connolly is fearful that the ‘elite’ players will get the chance to get back playing football before their peers.

“The concern for us is that the ‘elite’ players playing for the likes of Cork City and other League of Ireland underage clubs will have the chance to get back playing leaving their friends and schoolmates playing for our local clubs without the chance of getting out on the pitch.

“This to us simply does not make sense. We need clarity on this matter and we hope for fairness also.

“For the young players in the county, it should not be determined by ability whether they can return to playing competitive football.”

Connolly pointed out that schoolboys have already had their fair share of disappointments. “The cancellation of the leagues was of course very disappointing for players last season and further postponements this year is not easy for the youngsters.

“They need to get back out playing football as soon as possible. Of course, this needs to be rolled out in a safe and organised way, but in a way that is fair for all our young boys and girls playing the game, not just those classed as better.”

Connolly wished the CSL players and their families a happy and safe Christmas.

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