THE West Cork Schoolboys League has voted to move to a new SFAI Calendar Year season from February 2019 and also elected a new chairperson at Tuesday night’s AGM.
WCSL delegates voted overwhelmingly to adopt the incoming SFAI nationwide rule change that moves every schoolboys league in the country from their traditional September-May timeframe to a new February-November calendar start and finish date.
West Cork would have had to adopt the new changes in 2020 – as with every other league – but has elected to go a year early and will start their new domestic season in February 2019 and have everything finished by the following November.
This does not mean soccer will be played every weekend between the new start and finish date or even concentrated during the summer months.
The finer details are yet to be ironed out but, in a nutshell, following FAI and SFAI instructions, the WCSL have from February 1st until November 30th to complete their various league, cup and shield competitions. The possibility of a summer break or taking a couple of months off are yet be explored by the WCSL Committee but remain viable options.
Schoolboys leagues such as county Clare plus other rural counties have already made the change. The initial fall-off in registered players materialised as expected but two years later, each of those leagues are now reporting record playing numbers across all their age grades.
The term ‘summer soccer’ has been bandied about on this very subject but could not be more misleading. In its current set-up, during the winter months West Cork Schoolboys players have to wait a fortnight before rearranging a postponed match. Eight full weekends of fixtures were lost to the bad weather in West Cork during this past winter resulting in many leagues still being undecided heading into June.
West Cork has now elected to give those children interested in playing football an opportunity to play rearranged games in better weather conditions, on improved pitches and with the option of arranging games midweek rather than being forced to sit idle for a fortnight hoping a postponed game can be replayed.
Another important decision made at this week’s WCSL AGM included a request to contact every club and seek interest in reforming a West Cork Schoolgirls League. There is certainly plenty of interest and hopes are high of forming new league and cup competitions to meet the growing demand of West Cork’s young female footballers. Skibbereen AFC Girls’ recent Community Games success shows there is plenty of potential within the region.
Bantry Bay Rovers’ Danny Peters was also voted in as the new WCSL Chairperson following Ger McCarthy’s decision to step down. Peters is highly regarded after many years dedicated work on behalf of the Kealkil club and West Cork League.