The Secret Junior Footballer reckons the FAI Junior Cup needs a serious overhaul.
Ah the FAI Junior Cup. One of the biggest amateur cup competitions in Europe. The name conjures up names like Fairview Rangers, Pike Rovers and Caledonians.
Caledonians?! Cals are the oldest club in the city and were national champions back in 1970, beating Tolka Rovers in the final.
The Secret Junior Footballer isn’t quite old enough to recall that victory but in light of last weekend’s games in the opening rounds of the FAI, it’s worth remembering that great win. The crazy gang beating the culture club. The current incarnation of Caledonians could probably match their counterparts 44 years ago for craziness but they, along with the majority of lower league clubs, can only dream of such glory and as Mike Ahern read out the scores on Sunday on Live95FM, after the obituaries, you could be forgiven for thinking he was reading the death notices for some of the teams who conceded a total of more than 100 goals in 23 games over a real mismatched weekend.
Some are doing quite well in their respective divisions. Wembley are top of their table and Hyde Rangers are surely going to be in the promotion hunt come the end of the season. The massive scorelines that we saw on Sunday are a real indication of the power of our top clubs and it didn’t take long before the Facebook lads put down their pint bottles and pick up their phones to have a go.
And for once it wasn’t complete gibberish! Awful spelling aside, the argument for a preliminary round or some kind of qualifying phase is an interesting one. Every single club deserves the right to tilt at a few windmills and knowing the Bruff lads, they would have fancied their chances when they welcomed the present day crazy gang to east Limerick. Boom Boom! Crushing defeat or not, who is anyone to say that teams like Bruff, Meanus, Hyde or Abbey can’t take a shot at the title once or twice a year.
There is however, a train of thought that can help some of those teams to dream a bit longer. Preliminary or qualifying games couldn’t be that hard to organise, the referees would surely be happy with the few quid. If anyone from, for example, 2A or 2B down wants to enter the FAI Junior Cup they’re perfectly entitled to and they can be matched up against other teams from those divisions so that at least there is genuine competition and not just cannon fodder for a resurgent Shane Clarke FC.
By virtue of the luck of the draw, some of those teams might get out of town or make the latter stages of the competition and how could that be a bad thing? My own club has been on the receiving end of quite a few hammerings over the years but at least we could say we had a cut off the big boys and stood toe to toe with the best the city had to offer.
Either way it’s done and dusted for now but as the saying goes, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
No, that’s not a pearl of wisdom from Declan Considine, it was actually Albert Einstein. Imagine if he ran Cals? Hyde Road wouldn’t know what hit it.