*A gutted Tony Downey at the final whistle of the Munster U19 Final in Turners Cross. Photograph: Natasha Barton
ENNIS TOWN FC, TURNPIKE ROVERS and St Pats AFC will not have junior teams lining out in the Clare District Soccer League (CDSL) this season.
In what is viewed as a big setback for the sport, the exit of three clubs was discussed at a meeting of CDSL delegates on Thursday night.
Having reached the U19 Munster Final in the season just gone, hopes were high that Ennis Town would potentially challenge for honours over the coming years, however the loss of players to the newly established Fairgreen Celtic who will compete in the Third Division and Newmarket Celtic has proved to be detrimental to their aspirations. Poor turnouts at early pre-season sessions also influenced the decision.
Transfers and loss of players were also factors in the decision of Turnpike and St Pat’s not to enter teams this season.
Speaking to The Clare Echo ahead of the Munster U19 final against Midleton, Tony Downey who managed Ennis Town’s U19 and Premier side stated, “I firmly believe that in the next few years in the Premier Division, youth will be the success factor, to win this Munster U19s might give us the opportunity to bring in few more of that same age group, Newmarket are an ageing team at the moment but they still could do the double, it’s going to be difficult for them to build, their average age is 34 or 35 and Paddy Purcell is over 40, Avenue’s team is even an ageing side so they will be trying to bring in youth, it will be a toss and turn between the two of us, this could be a major turning point for Ennis Town”.
Their departure threw the Premier Division “into disarray” according to one official, leaving nine teams in the top tier, ten in the First Division, nine teams in the Second Division and seven teams in the Third Division.
Ex officials have questioned the merits of the CDSL allowing another Ennis team be created prior to the conclusion of last season. The arrival of Fairgreen Celtic has also coincided with the exits of two teams from the county town – Ennis Town FC and Turnpike. Ironically, the clubs have two officers each sitting on the CDSL, secretary Denis Collins and treasurer Tony Downey are both attached to Ennis Town with Vice Chairman Ronnie Pyne and committee member Mickey Guilfoyle part of the Turnpike club.
In correspondence to clubs in the past week, Collins confirmed a change to the agreed format for the Second and Third Division had been made, subsequent to the delegates meeting. “At the end of our delegate meeting last night, the committee received a late application from a club to participate in the upcoming league. This club was in the Second Division. As a result, the committee have reversed our decision to amalgamate both the Second and Third divisions and now will run separate divisions. Division 2 will now have 9 teams and Division 3 will have 7 teams. To give Division 3 teams enough games teams will play three rounds. The first two rounds will be the normal home and away with the 3rd round (3 home and 3 away)”.
Games are to commence in the Maloney Hardware Premier Division on Saturday August 20th. The League Cup kicks off on Sunday August 21st for teams in the First, Second and Third Divisions with optional entry, their respective Leagues will begin in September.
Avenue Utd A
Bridge Utd A
Newmarket Celtic A
Mountshannon Celtic A
Shannon Town A
Tulla Utd A
Bridge Utd B
Newmarket Celtic B
Shannon Hibs A
Shannon Town B
Avenue Utd B
Fern Celtic A
Shannon Hibs B
Fern Celtic B
Mountshannon Celtic B
Shannon Town C
Tulla Utd B