Leeside's proud 32-year involvement with the West Cork League has come to a disappointing and abrupt end
BY GER McCARTHY
LEESIDE’S proud 32-year involvement with the West Cork League came to a disappointing and abrupt end last week.
Having first entered the league back in 1985, the Inchigeela-based club were left with no choice but to inform the West Cork League Committee that they would not be able to fulfil their upcoming Premier Division fixtures as their home ground of the past 15 years is no longer available to them.
A concerted effort to locate a new home pitch proved fruitless over recent weeks, leaving disappointed Leeside with little option but to pull out of the West Cork League.
They may have been perennial relegation-battlers in recent times but ask anyone who ever faced Leeside in league or cup action, the Inchigeela club were always tough opponents to overcome.
‘I informed West Cork League Fixtures Secretary David Hall that we cannot secure a venue to play our home matches last Monday and unfortunately will not be able to play our 2017-18 league programme,’ Leeside club stalwart John Oldham commented to The Southern Star.
‘It is desperately sad news after 32 years of competitive football in the WCL. We have had great difficulty finding a new pitch. The club searched high and low throughout the local area, Macroom and beyond but for various (valid) reasons none were available.
‘Thankfully, Leeside will have an U13 schoolboys’ team that are willing to play away from home in the early part of their season until we secure a venue somewhere near Inchigeela. For now, the search goes on.
‘We are making an appeal to any landowners within the Inchigeela (or surrounding areas) to just think about providing Leeside with somewhere to play our games. Hopefully, something will happen in the coming year and Leeside can return to the West Cork League once again.’
West Cork League Secretary-Registrar and Dunmanway Town manager John Buckley knows all about the daily struggles of keeping a West Cork football club afloat. Buckley, like all WCL supporters, is disappointed to see Leeside gone from the top tier of the region’s league.
‘It is sad to see Leeside struggling but hopefully, people down in Inchigeela will get the club going again,’ stated Buckley.
‘I can tell you that it is hard going out there. A West Cork League club used to have a good few people helping out in the background. I’ve seen firsthand how it’s now being left to one or two individuals to keep everything going.
‘Danny Peters is a prime example with Bantry Bay Rovers. I’m convinced that club would have gone under without Danny carrying it at certain stages down through the years. It’s the same with my own club in Dunmanway too. Were it not for Andrew Healy, Noel O’Donovan and myself keeping things going over the years then the club would not be in existence today.
‘Clubs like Leeside need help as there’s a lot of time and effort required to keep everything afloat. Fundraising and getting membership in are the hardest things but, like Leeside, without a pitch we would go out of existence.’