In this week’s Limerick Leader column, the Secret Junior Footballer looks at what the Oscar Traynor Cup now means to local players.
For anyone willing to avoid the Munster match or who decided against getting the Vengabus to Tallaght for Limerick FC’s last game of the season, Jackman Park was the place to be as this year’s Oscar Traynor trophy kicked off for the LDMC’s brave soldiers.
Despite Mike Aherne’s attempts to rise me I wasn’t that put out not to be picked. The wife goes out with her Gang of Crones on a Friday night and even Crossagalla’s Galacticos couldn’t cover my expenses enough to pay a babysitter on the Friday of a Bank Holiday weekend.
During my salad days I couldn’t have dreamed to be selected for the Limerick Seleção, but it was always something that you felt would be a real honour. Now I can’t comment as to how well the squad is looked after with food, training facilities, gear or incentives to win and if I was a betting man, I’d be betting that those crucial factors in a successful high profile team are overlooked by the boys on Carey’s Road.
It might be enough to be picked to play for the young lads in the squad and it’s great to see the likes of Moyross United being represented. You can be sure that that club especially are delighted for the likes of Adrian Power, a player who sounds like he has set the league on fire so far this year, despite the misfortune of being born a natural redhead.
For the older heads the competition is seen as more of a hindrance than an honour though, which was part of the reason why I picked my alternative 11 last week. My team would have brought home the bacon, no question of that, but there has been as much chatter about the squad this year as I ever remember and if the squad could have been extended to 47 players, people still wouldn’t have been happy.
For the selection of Aled Harkin you could have had Eddie O’Donovan or James O’Donnell. For Thomas Clarke you could have had Kenneth Meehan or Aidan Hurley – a player left out completely by his own club manager, or at least one of the 19 managers down in Janesboro… But with the long list of honours won by the two coaches chosen to lead the Oscar Traynor players to glory, who can argue that they got it wrong? Would Stephen McNamara have conceded the equalizer? Would Paul Danaher, watching on from the bench have allowed it to sail in?
The questions surrounding the players on the pitch - or not on the pitch considering the absence of any representatives from Carew Park, the fax machine must be broken in Slattery Towers – will drag on and on. But should this be a top-down approach?
A league committee that leaves no stone unturned so that the squad and its coaches have the best possible access to facilities and equipment? Clubs that feel valued and that have no problem releasing their players?
Players that cannot wait to give up their time to play in such a high profile, well organized and properly rewarded team? 1-1 against a Kerry team who travelled with six players and brought on a goat up front at the end of the game is hardly just desserts?
Or is it?