MSL: Officials gear up for new season and abuse of referees will be clamped down on

'Downside to last season was the huge number of disciplinary issues with a number of unacceptable incidents that should never be seen in a football ground.'
MSL: Officials gear up for new season and abuse of referees will be clamped down on

Shane Daly Butz, College Corinthians, battling Brian Holland, Douglas Hall, in the MSL Senior Cup final. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

TEAMS are back training for pre-season, but so too are committees, back preparing for the new soccer season ahead to make it bigger and better for everyone.

We don’t often get to see or read about the work being done behind the scenes of keeping football so strong in our city. Every league has dedicated volunteers who work tirelessly throughout the year, not just the season, in order to keep our leagues running smoothly. And while we as players and coaches have a break during the off-season, it’s not always the case for the administrators in the game.

Recently I caught up with MSL fixtures secretary Shane O’Flynn and while he was enjoying his break from his duties, he was already thinking about plans for next season, which begins next month.

“I am fixtures secretary for the Munster Senior League, a role I thoroughly enjoy as I get to set fixtures, times and dates for our intermediate, junior and floodlit leagues,” said O’Flynn. “I also appoint referees to all fixtures related to the league.

“Last season was very successful overall. Rockmount won the Intermediate Cup and Carrigaline and Everton also had good runs and getting to the preliminary stages of the FAI Cup and Avondale had a good run in the Munster Junior Cup losing out in the quarter-finals.”

Abuse of referees and officials was an issue, however.

“The downside to last season was the huge number of disciplinary issues with a number of unacceptable incidents that should never be seen in a football ground. The abuse of referees from technical areas was a huge concern and something that has to be clamped down on big time next season.

“But the most disappointing for me was the abuse of the league administrators at grounds and by phone, it went way over the top and left some of the committee not wanting to go to games which cannot happen and it won’t be accepted next season.”

So while there were a lot of positives, the negatives took their toll and a break was welcomed for all involved.

“I took a decent break for the summer and it was well needed. Our last game was in mid-June which was later than we had hoped but that was out of our control and I am getting back into preparing for the season now. The end of the season was pretty hectic so I decided I was stopping totally and turning the phone and laptop off for a month or so.

“We are returning to matches on the week of the 15th of August so we will have four weeks to get everything in order. In preseason the bulk of the emails will be sanctioning friendlies as they all have to come through the league and be approved mainly for insurance purposes.

As most people know at this stage it’s our centenary year and we are going to run three centenary cups across the three leagues, intermediate, junior and floodlit league. 

"We are also looking at some of the divisions to try and make them as competitive as possible across intermediate and junior.

“We have got some good ideas from some clubs and the committee have come up with their own ideas so we are meeting as a committee this week to put everything together and try come up with the best possible scenarios to benefit the league as a whole. 

NEW

There are no new clubs in the league this year but there are a couple of new junior teams entered to date and one or two new additions to the floodlit league and again we will be looking to finalise all these at committee level in the coming week.

“The league has definitely grown over the last few years. Last year we had four intermediate divisions and five junior divisions and a twelve-team floodlit league. We will be looking at about 90-95 teams across the three leagues next season with the divisions to be decided.

“All the committee have been and will be very busy, especially from now on really. As I said we are in our centenary year and Paula is doing great work for our gala dinner dance in the Rochestown Park Hotel on November 19. But in general, we all have our own jobs to do from now until the start of the season to make sure we are up and running with no issues. And we are all looking forward to it.”

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