Cork soccer: Shane O'Flynn gives back to the game as MSL Fixtures Secretary

After injury forced O'Flynn to retire from playing and refereeing, he stepped into an administrative role
Cork soccer: Shane O'Flynn gives back to the game as MSL Fixtures Secretary

Conor Walsh, College Corinthians recevied the Player of the Match Award from Shane O'Flynn and Paula O'Donnell, MSL, after the Keane Cup final. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

WHEN forced into hanging up his boots due to injury it’s always great to stay involved in the game in some capacity. 

For Shane O’Flynn, exploring new avenues was always of interest and here the current MSL Fixtures Secretary tells us about his journey in football.

“I played at a decent level up until I was only 21-22 but the last five years of that were plagued with serious injury one after the other. A bit of bad luck crossed with stupidity rushing back from injuries and not listening to the right people. Eventually, I had to stop playing at 22 when I realised work and being fit and healthy was most important,” said O’Flynn.

“I took up refereeing and again loved it, loved being back involved in the game and pushed myself to get as far as I could and everything was going pretty well until I suffered another serious injury off the field and was eventually forced to pack it in. 

"But look I’m very grateful to get the chance to stay involved especially in the Munster Senior League. It was a fantastic league to play and referee in and now it's great to be part of the committee in my new role as fixtures secretary.” 

Referee Shane O'Flynn and assistants Ray Murphy and Dan Deady for the Beamish Cup final in 2018. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Referee Shane O'Flynn and assistants Ray Murphy and Dan Deady for the Beamish Cup final in 2018. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

O’Flynn took over as fixtures secretary in the beginning of 2020. A busy role for the 30-year-old from Friars Walk but one in which he is enjoying and here he tells us what his role entails while also highlighting the development of the floodlight league.

“The role entails creating and releasing fixtures weekly for our Intermediate, Junior and Floodlit League and appointing referees to the fixtures. But then there is a bit of liaising with club secretaries making sure everything is in order to make sure the fixtures go ahead as planned without any issues.

My aim is just to learn as much as possible about the league and creating fixtures in general as it's all very new to me. 

"In fairness, the committee have all been excellent since I have come on board, everybody has given me a dig out of some sort since I have taken up the role. 

"Also then I have a very good relationship with the previous fixtures secretary Barry Cotter so it just makes things that small bit easier if I come across a new problem or issue that I have so many people to contact.

“The Floodlit League takes place every Monday night in Mayfield United all weather. The league this season consists of 12 teams and after seeing a few games and hearing the reports the standard seems very high this year. 

"The games are played at 30 minutes a side with three games a night taking place so typically teams play every second week in the main. It is refereed by our own panel of referees and it is treated the same as any other fixtures that are made over the weekend.

“All teams and players are registered to the Munster Senior League. Most teams are made up of former players who in the main will tell you it's for the social aspect, but I can tell you it gets really competitive and in the majority played in a very sporting manner which is a great combination and is the reason I think the league is so successful.

“We got the league up and running this year on October 1 and it was planned to run off the first round of fixtures before Christmas up until December 20 but the committee came to the decision that we will also stop the floodlit league after this weekend and return back in January. 

"So in the new year, we will play off the last six fixtures over two weeks to finish the first round of fixtures. The top six after this period will enter the cup competition and the bottom six the shield. 

"We will then enter the second round of league fixtures and when all is said and done the top four will play off to decide the winners of the league.

“Tramore Athletic and Riverstown are locked together at the top of the league at the moment with the rest of the teams all still well in the league." 

There are five teams unbeaten so far so a lot of draws which shows how competitive it is. 

"The age rule for the floodlit league is over 35 with some lads going straight into the league after finishing up playing intermediate or junior and others return to the playing field after a few years away. But it is good to watch as most of these lads never lose the footballing brain. 

"You are allowed to play two current junior players who are signed with the club but also they have to be over 35.” 

So now the father of one will enjoy the Christmas break before a hectic new year as they head into their centenary year.

“We will finish after Monday night and return to football on January 6. I am looking forward to the break but I know after a week or two I will be missing going to the games so I will definitely be looking forward to it starting back up again. 

"2022 plans to be a busy year with my fiancé also expecting a baby in March so it will be nice to enjoy some downtime over Christmas before a heavy schedule again in the new year.”

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