SCHOOLBOY League players across the city and county are counting down the days to a return to competitive football.
After a lengthy spell away, the players can finally look forward to lacing up their boots and donning their respective club kits for midweek and weekend fixtures: June 7 is the official return date for the Cork Schoolboys League.
It has been a long road back. The CSL worked tirelessly to facilitate a return to competitive football and a number of changes have been made along the way including the creation of two full fixture lists.
The CSL regularly changed their plans following ongoing Government briefings and action plans in relation to Covid-19. The initial hope to complete all remaining league games was eventually altered due to time restrictions and the league campaigns will now be completed via single-round league formats.
The Skechers U14 Sixth Division and the Joma/Sportsgear Direct U16 Fourth Division are now split into two groups each, in order to facilitate a conclusion to these particular leagues as they were the biggest in the Cork Schoolboys League.
The top teams in each group will play each other in a final to determine the league champions of the U14 sixth tier and U16 Fourth Division.
Added to the possibility of seeing out the leagues is the news that the local cups are now back on the table.
Originally, when the CSL planned for an April return, the sole aim was to see out all local leagues. As a result of the single-round format, there should be enough time for all teams to be included in the local cups. The Founder Cups will not be catered for due to time restrictions.
Cork Schoolboys League secretary Eddie Doyle is counting down the days until the official restart.
“We are certainly on the countdown now and we are all looking forward to seeing the players back out on the pitch enjoying football and developing their own skills in the process,” he said.
“The one-round league allows us to not only complete the league campaigns at every age level but also to give every team the chance of competing in the cups and overall, the players will have a lot of games to look forward to over the summer.”
Doyle also said the small-sided games will be catered for.
The small-sided games are set to go ahead too with the U7s, U9s, and U11s playing on Saturday afternoons and evenings, with the U8s and U10s playing on the Sundays.
“This is fantastic for the youngsters, who will get to play eight games each, starting in early June.”
The light at the end of the tunnel is fast approaching at this stage, and Doyle and company in the Cork Schoolboys League are optimistic about players enjoying a lot of playing time over the coming weeks.
“It really is important at this stage to get the players back out and enjoying football,” he said.
“Players, their families, coaches, referees, and everyone connected with the game need to enjoy the game again, and we hope the games will come thick and fast over the coming months.
“Some youngsters may be lifting trophies in the not-too-distant future, but the biggest trophy of all is for them to get back playing.
“We will be doing everything to facilitate an enjoyable end to a difficult season, and of course we ask all clubs and personnel to adhere to the current guidelines and to stay safe.”
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