Action packed weekend ahead as junior soccer clubs face fixture congestion

There is another packed schedule for Limerick junior soccer clubs this weekend as the postponement of the majority of matches for the last three months leaves a large pile-up of fixtures to be played over the next three months. On this occasion, the weather forecast is promising which brings a certain level of optimism. However, with the amount of rainfall in recent times, it will take a few days for some pitches to become playable.

It seems a certainty that the league will continue beyond the usual finish date of the last week in April with so many outstanding games. As of today, the decision was taken to switch the Limerick schoolboy/girl soccer league from winter to a predominantly summer league from February to November. Many are calling for the LDMC to consider a similar move.

The obvious benefits are the improvement in weather conditions which will result in less postponements. However, there are also negatives to the possible switch. Even though many have laughed off suggestions that the GAA season would affect the league, it most certainly would in some parts of the city and county. Many players play both sports and while clubs cannot be held to ransom by the scheduling of another sport, it could greatly affect the amount of teams entered and the drop out rate may increase.

Furthermore, the commitment levels which are already questionable in some quarters, could be affected by the change. The junior soccer league is voluntary and revolves around enjoyment. Therefore, many players and referees will be taking summer holidays with their families and player involvement may suffer once more. It would be vital to include a lengthy holiday lay-off in order for the scheme to work. Although if that were to be the case, the same fixture congestion may become a problem.

A break for the months of January and February have been suggested and this seems the most logical approach. However, the month of August is crammed with fixtures because the league committee are aware that postponements will occur in the winter months. So, adding to that busy fixture list to allocate a two month break may be too much to ask.

Back to the action on the field and the Limerick District League side travel to Ennis on Wednesday evening to face Clare District League in the Oscar Traynor Trophy (Kick-off 7.30 pm). The re-arranged Munster Junior Cup last 16 tie between Murroe and St. Michaels will take place in Murroe with a 2 o’clock kick-off. It would be a massive achievement for Murroe to beat the FAI Cup quarter-finalists.

There is just one game in the PJ Matthews Premier Division as Kilmallock host Aisling Annacotty (kick-off 11am). The Munster Logistics Lawson Cup second round takes place on Sunday with all games kicking off at 2pm. The pick of the ties is the all premier clash between Fairview and Janesboro at the Fairgreen.

It is Fairview’s last chance of silverware this season. 1B side Newport travel to Ballynanty having lost home advantage due to the postponement over a week ago. The game will be played at Shelbourne Park. Also, Nenagh take on 1A high flyers Cappamore in Tipperary.

In the FAI Youth Cup, Pike Rovers face a tough assignment as they travel to Galway to take on Athenry on Sunday afternoon at 2pm.

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Adrian Finnin

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