Summer soccer debate to begin in West Cork

Summer soccer debate to begin in West Cork
Bantry Bay Rovers celebrate winning the SuperValu West Cork Schoolboys League U14 Division 1 League title following a dominant 2016-17 campaign.

The 2016-17 SuperValu West Cork Schoolboys League season proved one of the most successful in recent times with a record entry of 61 teams competing for honours.

The local schoolboys football season is over for another year with West Cork clubs enjoying league cup and shield successes at U12, U13, U14, U16 plus the newly introduced U15 age-grades.

The WCSL also made a welcome return to Cork City FC’s home ground, Turner’s Cross, where a well attended U13 and U16 Cup final double-header proved a hugely successful venture.

Alas, it wasn’t all positive news as the end of season WCSL AGM, held in Dunmanway last week, had to be suspended and an Emergency General Meeting called for the end of June.

The WCSL Committee and clubs require further clarification from the SFAI as to the national governing body’s official ruling on moving to a new calendar season (March to November rather than the traditional September to May). 

Properly debating the implications of altering to a ‘summer season’ and what that means for rural clubs dotted throughout the West Cork region is necessary before everyone meets up again.

Away from off-field issues, there can be no denying that Bantry Bay Rovers were the club that made the most headlines during the 2016-17’ campaign, enjoying a magnificent return across multiple age-grades.

The Bantry club claimed the U12 Premier, U12 Division 1B, U13 Premier, U14 Division 1 and U16 Premier League titles all within a nine-month period. 

Add to that, the U13 Cup and U16 Shield trophies plus a terrific run in the SFAI U12 National Cup and Bantry Bay Rovers were unquestionably the standout West Cork club of the past season.

Bay Rovers powered to the U12 Premier League title with an undefeated record of nine wins and one draw while a tier below, Dunmanway Town held off the determined challenge of local rivals Togher Celtic to lift the Division 1A League trophy.

For the first time in recent history, a third U12 division had to be introduced to meet the growing demand of the WCSL’s youngest grade. Here, Bantry Bay Rovers Cadets took top honours by overcoming Leeside and Ardfield Rovers to win the Division 1B League with a perfect record of eight victories from eight outings.

In the SuperValu U12 Cup, Drinagh Rangers ousted Bantry Bay at the semi-final stage and still had enough left in the tank to defeat Lyre Rovers 2-1 in the decider thanks to an Eoin Hurley brace. Togher Celtic made up for the disappointment of missing out on Division 1A honours by registering a 1-0 victory over Ardfield Rangers to claim the SuperValu U12 Shield.

There was further success for Bantry Bay Rovers as the Kealkil side claimed the U13 Premier League title after a season-long battle with Drinagh Rangers and Lyre Rovers. Following that, Bay completed the double, overcoming Ardfield 4-1 on penalties to lift the SuperValu U13 Cup at Turner’s Cross. This season’s SuperValu U13 Shield was won by Lyre Rovers who had Ferghal Murphy and Ethan Buttimer on the scoresheet in a 2-1 win over Drinagh Rangers in a keenly contested decider.

Skibbereen proved the dominant team at U14 level as the Baltimore Road club won the Premier League championship with an undefeated record of nine wins and a draw before beating Ardfield 3-1 in the SuperValu U14 Cup final at Turner’s Cross. 

Jack Kevane (2) and Jamie O’Driscoll were on target on that occasion. Richard O’Sullivan (2) and Jason Mayiji scored for Castlelack in the Lakestone Park club’s 3-1 SuperValu U14 Shield final victory at the expense of Bay Rovers.

Bantry Bay Rovers won the SuperValu U16 Premier League and U16 Shield to cap off a dominant campaign whilst two James Lynam goals secured the U16 Cup for Lyre Rovers at Dunmanway Town’s expense in Turner’s Cross.

The first ever U15 Premier League title was claimed by Ardfield who fended off Lyre Rovers and Drinagh Rangers’ combined challenge to end the campaign in first place. 

Rovers bounced back in the U15 Cup final however, denying Ardfield a ‘double’ by edging their Carrigroe rivals on penalties. 

The 2017 U15 Shield final between Castlelack and Drinagh Rangers was scheduled to go ahead in Mohona last night.

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