Cork soccer: Schoolboys League focus is on safety but remain hopeful of a return

Cork soccer: Schoolboys League focus is on safety but remain hopeful of a return
Glounthaune United's Roy Murphy clears his lines under pressure from Tramore Athletic's Jack Madden, during the CSL U14 Division 4 clash, at Glenmore Park. Picture: David Keane.

CORK Schoolboys League Chairman Peter Connolly spent last week patiently awaiting the outcome of the FAI’s steering group meeting but the hope of a solution to resume competitive football including the CSL still remains.

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 2019/2020 campaign is still in the balance.

The advice from the FAI directs all affiliates to postpone any decisions on a return to training or football until after the FAI conclude their talks with Sport Ireland and HSE officials.

The hope from everyone involved in the game is that an improvement in direction will be available for clubs in the near future.

Cork Schoolboys League Chairman Peter Connolly is hopeful that a solution will come soon but he remains 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 at the present time and we all have to continue doing our part to protect ourselves and the people doing their all to protect us,” Connolly said. 

“In terms of the budding young footballers of Cork having the opportunity of playing football on a competitive basis again, that still remains unclear and we must wait on the advice of the medical experts in the country and the FAI to see what the path looks like going forward.” 

The FAI has asked for patience as the association searches for ways to plan the recommencement of both the League of Ireland and local leagues and this is something Connolly supports.

“Put simply, people’s health is more important than football and we have to be patient in terms of a solution. 

"To be honest, it will be very difficult to find a solution considering the rules in relation to social distancing but the hope still remains and we all would obviously love to see the schoolboys back out on the pitches enjoying their football.” 

Peter Connolly, CSL chairman, presenting Corinthian Boys' Liam Murray his Ireland U15 cap. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Peter Connolly, CSL chairman, presenting Corinthian Boys' Liam Murray his Ireland U15 cap. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

After the recent cancellation of the Leaving Cert, Connolly hopes more bad news isn’t coming soon.

“It was a disappointing week for a lot of our players with the cancellation of the Leaving Cert so I hope these players won’t be receiving more bad news in relation to the cancellation of the leagues. 

"In saying that, it is the guidance from the professionals that is important and we will be listening to exactly that when it arrives.” 

Connolly is hoping to receive a further update from the FAI and Sport Ireland by this Friday.

Meanwhile, although not high on the agenda in comparison with the difficulties people are currently facing at present- club members, managers and players among others have had to press the pause button on their respective footballing seasons and the prospect of a resumption of proceedings looks more and more unlikely as the days go by.

With that goes a number of goals held by players and teams alike and having completed the majority of the season in most cases, some CSL sides are facing a ‘so close but yet so far’ like scenario. 

One of these teams are Corinthian Boys and their U13s are challenging for the likes of the Roy Keane Premier and the SFAI Skechers U13 National Cup. The youngsters were looking forward to an U13 National Cup semi-final prior to the suspension of play.

Manager Barry McGrath is missing the beautiful game at present but the Corinthian Boys coach knows the focus should be and very much is with the people who are currently facing difficulties and those who are doing their upmost to help the sick.

“At present the most important thing is helping those battling illness and supporting the fantastic work being carried out on the front-line. 

"The continued focus on health and safety is very important and hopefully there are brighter times ahead,” McGrath said. 

When asked about the current situation from a sporting context, McGrath replied: “We are waiting on guidelines from the FAI and Sport Ireland and we are all hopeful we can resume training in June. 

"At present, we are doing our best to support the players by supplying basic drills via WhatsApp messages and obviously keeping in mind factors like lack of space at home.” 


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