LIMERICK CBS - the most famous soccer school in the city - are facing the prospect of having no teams in the main schools soccer competitions this year after a “simple human error” meant that they failed to register in time.
There was considerable surprise when the draws for the Munster Schools Cup were released recently with no mention of Limerick CBS. That’s a competition that that the Sexton Street school has won eight times in the last ten years - as well as three All Irelands in the same period. But the principal of Limerick CBS, Mr Tom Prendergast, has vowed to “leave no stone unturned” in the school’s efforts to be re-instated.
Michael Molyneaux, who is a teacher in Limerick CBS, stepped down from his coaching duties with the school’s soccer teams at the end of last season after 27 years involvement, leaving a vacuum that has led to this current situation. When contacted, he didn’t wish to comment, other than to say he “had 27 great years” where he “made great friends and great memories”.
“We’re making strenuous efforts to have it corrected,” said Mr Prendergast. “There is a long history of soccer in the school and that will be continued. It’s down to a simple human error. It’s unfortunate but we’re looking to rectify it and we will leave no stone unturned.
“We have put other arrangements in place and have other teachers willing to become involved and who have been involved with teams before. Our first year team is entered and we will be playing friendly games in the meantime with our other teams but we’re going to explore every opportunity to get back in.”
However, the Munster competitions have already started, leaving it likely that they will now proceed without Limerick CBS.
Parents of students at the school have expressed their disappointment at the situation - that effects the senior (U-19), junior (U-17), U-15 and U-14 teams. It also means that Crescent Comp are the only Limerick school in the senior ‘A’ competition.
“It’s a very sad day for the school,” said FAI Development Officer Jason O’Connor, who has coached teams in the school for the past two seasons and whose son is in first year.
“The school is steeped in tradition, it’s the number one sport in the school and the big losers are the students, the players.
“For some students who struggle with their school work, the soccer pitch is where they get their recognition. They say that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind so this is a big issue. With no competition to play in there is no reason for the players to train.
“And this has a knock on effect for the clubs in the city. The players benefit from the extra training they get in school and they’re going to miss out on this now.”
Another source, who doesn’t want to be named, says that it’s a huge blow to the school.
“The school is known for its brilliant record in the Munster and All Ireland competitions. You only have to look at the calibre of player it has produced. Limerick players Lee Jay Lynch, Shane Tracy, Shane Duggan and Jason Hughes are all past players and so are a lot of the top local junior players - the likes of Pa Mullins, Shane Clarke and Eoin Hanrahan.
“They all got their grounding in Sexton Street and it’s a shame that the current students are now going to miss out on that. Sexton Street not having a soccer team is like Ardscoil Ris not entering a hurling team or Crescent not having a rugby team. It just shouldn’t happen.”
The school won six Munster titles between 2003 and 2009, winning All Irelands in 2007 and 2008. They were in last year’s Munster final and were last in the All Ireland final in 2013 having beaten Kilmallock in an all-Limerick Munster final along the way.