Tuesday 25 September 2018

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Cork Independent

Sport

Optimism abounds as MSL kicks off

Wednesday, 22nd August, 2018 4:26pm

Michael Olney

The new Munster Senior League is kicked off last weekend and it promises to be a very exciting season although a few old favourites are missing. The league remains a hotbed of young and not-so-young talent however.

Two of the more notable absentees are Tramore and Glasheen who had been playing Intermediate for 70 and 50 years respectively, but have now reverted to Junior.

The Munster Senior League did however welcome a new club to its second division in the form of Kilworth Celtic.

Kilworth will be eager to show what they are all about and build upon their 3-2 win against Youghal United last Sunday when they go head to head with Bandon this Sunday 26 August.

Speaking to the Cork Independent about the new season, Chairman of the Munster Senior League, John Finnegan said: “There is unfortunately a drop off of teams but I think that’s a country and nationwide issue but we’re very positive in spite of a few setbacks at the start.

“We have ten teams in our premier division, nine in the first division and eight in the second division, so we are hoping that some of the teams we lost this year will make a return next year, because three divisions of ten is what we’re going for.”

It’s not all bad news however as the league has gained a reputation for producing top quality young players who have gained significant attention from across the water.

One club in particular, Ringmahon Rangers, has produced three players in recent years who have gone on to play at the top level.

“Ringmahon would be one of the stronger clubs in the senior league. They have fantastic facilities and there’s great work being done there,” said Mr Finnegan.

“You’ve Caoimhin Kelleher with Liverpool and Alan Browne and Adam O’Reilly both gone to Preston North End, so that’s three players playing at the highest level now and long may it continue,” he added.

Speaking about Caoimhin Kelleher’s dream move to Liverpool, Mr Finnegan said he thought it was fantastic to see a young player going straight from his local club to a Premiership club and that it is “quite unusual” for it to happen.

“We’ve always had the players here in Cork, and maybe the ‘Dublin bias’ as we’ll call it, isn’t there anymore so English clubs are definitely taking a keener interest in players in Cork and that’s because of the fantastic work that’s done by the grassroot clubs, bringing kids in at seven and eight,” he said.

The new season kicked off last Thursday with Ringmahon Rangers beating Avondale United 3-1 to take an early top spot on the league table.

“In Cork we’ve always produced good players and I think there is certainly some very good talent coming up,” Mr Finnegan concluded.

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