Positivity The Name Of The Game At KDL Delegate Meeting 

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Positivity the name of the game at KDL delegate meeting 

By Murt Murphy 

There was a large turnout of clubs at the November meeting of the KDL and a number of important items were discussed. The KDL executive held a meeting prior to the delegate meeting with a review of Kerry’s inaugural season in the Airtricity U-17 League being the main topic. The executive met Danny Diggins part of the management team and took on board the views of Darren Ahern and his backroom staff on how they felt the season had gone and what lessons could be learned going forward.

This was a very constructive and positive meeting and the executive then discussed various changes and modifications that may have to be made when a final decision will be made on Kerry’s participation for next season.

It was felt important to consult the clubs who had unanimously endorsed the original decision to join the U-17 League.

It was also decided to seek an earlier start this season to the Greyhound Bar KO Cup because of declining numbers entering the oldest and most prestigious cup competition. It was felt that many of the clubs from the lower divisions did not enter this Cup as they feared meeting a Premier A club and being hammered. While the committee felt this was unfounded as teams like Castleisland B and Mitchels Avenue had reached the latter stages of it in the recent past. But it was decided that to help the teams from the lower divisions that the 10 Premier A teams would be seeded and not included in the first round draw thus ensuring teams had a good chance of winning one game and then maybe doing a giant killing act against one of the big guns in a later round.

The committee also decided to put in a team to the Inter League Youths where the draw has been made and Kerry would have only two games would one win probably enough to make it to the knockout stages.  Kerry U-17’s are not free to play any soccer with club or county until the window reopens on December 1st.

There is trial arranged for the youths on Weds night Nov 16th at 7.30 and any clubs with youths that are in the clubs opinion up to the standard are welcome even if  your club does not have to have a youth team.

Kerry are away to Limerick on Saturday 26th who already beat Clare 3-1 and Kerry are at home to Clare on Jan 21st in a three team group. If Kerry win their home game they will be through regardless of what happens on the 26th.

The Kerry Oscar Traynor team were thanked for their efforts up in Limerick where they lost 3-0 but they were without three key players, James Sugrue ( Dynamos)  injured, Ryan Downey ( Park )   working  and Adam O’Rourke ( bereavement). It was pointed out that some players chose not to play but that has always been the case and that many Kerry sides with top names had suffered bigger losses in Jackman Park where winning is not easy.

But all the big clubs were represented with Castleisland have 4 players, Killarney Celtic 2, Dingle Bay Rovers 2 and Tralee Dynamos 1 and the Park had both Ryan Downey and Adam O’Rourke missing while Con Barrett is also injured.

When the delegates there was an air of positivity pervading the room and after contributions from a number of delegates on the Kerry U-17 team it was obvious that the Kerry clubs want to the Kerry U-17’s to continue in the National League as it provides a pathway for some our best players to play and develop their game. Padraig Harnett ( Killarney Celtic ) and the Kerry Schoolboys League maintained it was the way to go as there would be an U-15 National starting shortly and Kerry would more than likely be entering so it was important to have something for those players to aspire to.

Colm McLoughlin (Park) was also very supportive and said it would be a pity to pull out after one year and said maybe cost cutting measures or funds could be put aside for the U-17’s. It was the mood of the meeting that while the first year was tough and maybe some mistakes were made early on, the players had given it everything and it was worth continuing.

John O’Regan thanked the clubs from all parts of the county for their support and explained that the League must wait until they are invited to take part again but aside from the long distances that the team had to travel he was pretty confident that Kerry  would be involved again next year with a few minor adjustments. However the executive will come back to the delegates next month with a final decision.

There were some rumblings in the media about players not being interested in playing in the Oscar Traynor Cup but Padraig Harnett who was at the game said Kerry played very well and 2-0 loss would probably be a fairer reflection on the way the game went. Other delegates said that players from the stronger clubs were involved and Saturday evening sometimes sees players working and they some players just cannot give the commitment but that has always been the case.

Team manager John O’Regan told the meeting that some of the Kerry players had made big sacrifices to make the game and were proud to play for Kerry including John McDonagh and Gary Keane who drove to the game and Dingle’s Joe Sheehy and Jason Hickson and who collected Dynamos striker Danny Roche who had to work late. He was delighted with the commitment of the lads and with players to come back in, he would be confident that Kerry could qualify from the group.

Clubs expressed their satisfaction with the way the season was going and Chairman Sean O’Keeffe that clubs should not under any circumstances play a suspended or illegal player as it has massive insurance repercussions as well as being against KDL rules.

Children’s Officer Geraldine Nagle told delegates that there was a Child welfare course on at Mounthawk Park this coming Monday night November 14th from 7pm-10pm and clubs should send anyone who is involved with players under age of 18 for Garda vetting. This is a mandatory requirement for all clubs who have coaches and anyone who is involved with underage players. Any queries please contact Geraldine.

It was a lengthy but very positive meeting and it proved that the clubs and executive are on the same hymn sheet in fostering and growing the game in the county and with U15’s likely to join the U-17’s at National level and hopefully moving on the U-19’s, with the youths and Oscar Traynor teams playing in National competitions, there is an air of quite satisfaction with the way the leagues are being run and with another all-weather pitch on the horizon, the clubs and executive are very happy right now much to dismay of the keyboard warriors who vitriol will only make the Kerry District League stronger rather than cause division.