WEST Cork Schoolboys League clubs have voted to return to their traditional September-May calendar season format less than a year after moving to summer soccer.
An FAI-SFAI decision to run every Schoolboys League in the country between March and November by the year 2020 saw the West Cork Schoolboys League change from their traditional September to May format at last year’s AGM.
In the interim, an FAI-SFAI U-turn saw the governing bodies inform each league that they would leave it up to themselves to decide whether or not they wanted to run their competitions in the summer or return to the traditional winter setup.
Last Tuesday, a special general meeting called by the West Cork Schoolboys League Committee saw club delegates vote on three on what was best for the long-term future of the rural league.
Presented with three options, the committee asked delegates to choose from completing the current calendar year season and continue on with summer soccer into 2020 or return to winter soccer in September 2020 by suspending the current season in late November 2019 and start again in February 2020 to complete the season by the following May.
A third alternative suggested by Ardfield was to end the current season at the earliest possible time available and immediately move to winter soccer.
A debate ensued before a vote was cast 21 to 19 in favour of a return to winter soccer and the September to May calendar format. A compromise was reached by agreeing to complete the current season as quickly as possible, forego the 2019 West Cork Schoolboys League Shield competitions get as many of the current league and cup competitions completed as quickly as possible. West Cork will come back into line with the likes of the Cork Schoolboys League and other urban setups next September. Current SFAI Skechers National Cups and Subway Inter-League Championships are unaffected although West Cork clubs have had to field younger teams in this season’s national cups.
The 21 to 19 vote underlines the split within the rural region when it came to deciding what was best for West Cork football. The first season of the new summer soccer March to November season was not without its problems as many teams reported how much of a struggle it was to field teams.
However, many postponed fixtures were successfully rescheduled as midweek games, something that has helped the 2019 U12 and U13 age-grades remain on course to successfully complete their fixture-lists.
Completing games at the older age-groups U14, U15 and U16, has proven more problematic.