West Cork League stick with summer soccer as a single vote swings decision 

West Cork League stick with summer soccer as a single vote swings decision 
Bantry Bay Rovers celebrating their SuperValu West Cork Schoolboys League U16 Cup final win over Ardfield at Lyre last Saturday.

THE SuperValu West Cork Schoolboys League has voted to retain its March to November calendar season following the narrowest of votes at their Annual General Meeting.

Last week’s WCSL AGM held in the Arch Bar, Dunmanway saw delegates from every club in the West Cork region vote on a single motion brought forward by Drinagh Rangers concerning the on-going winter versus summer soccer debate.

The West Cork Schoolboys League ran their first ever March to November season during 2019 under direct orders from the FAI and SFAI.

Unfortunately, the 2019 league began late due to poor weather, having to reorganise the various age-grades and ensure on-line registration was properly completed. That has resulted in the remaining 2019 cup and league finals taking place this past month.

In the interim, a refusal by other Schoolboys Leagues around the country to switch to summer soccer coupled with an FAI U-turn meant West Cork was left in limbo as to whether to stick with their new format or return to its traditional September to April season.

At last Tuesday night’s AGM, a single vote (23 to 22) saw the WCSL agree to begin its season in March and end it in November 2020 but only by the narrowest of margins.

As well as that, it was agreed that the subject of ‘calendar year’ versus ‘winter soccer’ cannot be discussed again until the 2022 AGM in three years’ time. This decision affects the U12, U13, U14, U15 and U16 age-grades.

What’s clear from the (roughly) 50-50 split is that West Cork clubs are divided as to the best time of the year to play youths soccer.

Many clubs from the region struggled to field teams or fit in ample training sessions during the spring and summer months as their players are involved in GAA, rugby and many other sports.

On the opposite side, over half the WCSL clubs believe having the ability to reorganise postponed games during midweek (in the summer months) evenings along the improved state of playing surfaces represent just two reasons to stick with the new format.

There were also changes on the West Cork Schoolboys League management committee at last week’s AGM. David Hall has been elected as the new League Secretary and takes over from long standing incumbent Hugh O’Reilly. The latter will assume the role of Rules Administrator from this season onwards.

Stephane Guiblin (Fixtures Secretary), Martina McSweeney (Registrar) and Danny Peters (Chairperson) have also decided to step down. Bantry Bay Rovers’ Peters will remain on as acting Chairperson until the role is filled on a committee Castlelack’s Tadgh Curtin is staying on Treasurer.

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