THE West Cork League is back with a 2021 summer fixture list that is bulging with knockout competitions including the return of the Beamish Cup.
Adult male and female footballers throughout West Cork are gearing up for a return to on-field action following the West Cork League (WCL) Committee’s publication of their upcoming summer competitions.
An action-packed summer lies ahead as West Cork League adult and youth teams will compete in U17 and U19 summer leagues, a women’s summer blitz, Championship Cup, Premier Cup and Beamish Cup competitions.
Fixtures begin this week and will be played midweek and, where possible, at the weekends as well.
Full adult male Premier Division, Championship division and Women’s League programmes will not return until a new season begins next August. Until then, the summer months will be taken up with a host of knockout cups, youths and women’s mini-leagues.
The sight of the prestigious Beamish Cup appearing on the list of upcoming competitions will be welcome by all local sports fans. A brace of Cathal Daly goals earned Dunmanway Town the 2020 Beamish Cup following a 2-0 win over Clonakilty Town at Turner’s Cross last September.
That was the last time the trophy was handed over and Dunmanway will begin their defence with a glamour tie away to arch rivals Drinagh Rangers. What a match that should be between two of the most successful clubs in WCL history.
Rangers are reigning Premier Division champions and have lifted the title in 2018, 2015, 2013, 2009, 2007, 2005, 2004 and 2003. Drinagh have also won three of the last seven Beamish Cups as well as numerous other WCL knockout trophies. As for Dunmanway, a recent upturn in form has seen the Mohona outfit pick up the 2003, 2004, 2015 and 2020 Beamish Cups. Premier Division League title successes in 2012, 2017 and 2019 underpin Town’s pedigree amongst the top clubs in the region.
Drinagh and Dunmanway’s local derby is one of eight Beamish Cup first round matches recently drawn by the WCL Committee.
Two preliminary round ties see 2019 competition winners Togher Celtic hosting Castletown Celtic and Aultagh Celtic B travelling to newly promoted to the Premier Division, Mizen AFC – both these games are on Sunday, June 20th, at 11am.
Beara make their long-awaited return to the West Cork League with an opening round tie at home to Skibbereen. Another newcomer, Courtmacsherry will have home advantage for the visit of either Mizen or Aultagh B.
The 2021 Beamish Cup draw is as follows –
Preliminary Round: Togher Celtic v Castletown Celtic, Mizen AFC v Aultagh Celtic B.
First Round: Courtmacsherry v Mizen AFC/Aultagh Celtic B, Drinagh Rangers v Dunmanway Town, Durrus v Kilbrittain Rovers, Lyre Rovers v Aultagh Celtic A, Drinagh Rangers B v Bunratty United, Togher Celtic/Castletown Celtic v Togher Celtic B, Clonakilty v Castlelack, Beara v Skibbereen.
Four clubs will contest this year’s WCL U17 Summer League. Bunratty United, Drinagh Rangers, Riverside Athletic and Togher Celtic will compete in a round-robin tournament to decide the summer champions. It is a similar story in the U19 Summer League where Ardfield, Castlelack, Drinagh Rangers and Durrus battle it out for the league trophy.
The West Cork League’s ongoing commitment to promoting women’s soccer continues in 2021 with the Women’s Summer Blitz. Seven-a-side matches will played at selected host venues on designated match-days. Beginning on June 26th, six clubs – Aultagh Celtic, Beara, Bantry Bay Rovers, Kenmare, Drinagh Rangers and Drinagh Rangers B – will compete against one another until champions are crowned on July 11th.
Second-tier Championship division clubs will take part in the WCL Championship Cup over the next seven weeks.
Drinagh B have home advantage for the visit of Kilbrittain Rovers in one of three preliminary round match-ups. Skibbereen versus Aultagh and Beara versus Castlelack are the other two ties in that round.
Bunratty will be away to the winners of Drinagh B and Kilbrittain’s tie in the quarter-finals with Castletown Celtic taking on Togher B in the last eight.
A reduced WCL Premier Cup sees seven clubs taking part. Durrus have been drawn away to Togher Celtic in round one, as have Dunmanway Town who will travel to Mizen AFC. Lyre Rovers and Drinagh Rangers’ matchup clash be a cracker in Lyre, and whoever emerges will be away to either Togher or Durrus in the last four. Clonakilty await the winners of Mizen and Dunmanway in the second semi-final.