Scene set for new Limerick junior soccer season

Scene set for new Limerick junior soccer season

The 2016/17 Junior Soccer season kicks off on August 16 with most attention in the pre-season focusing on managerial changes.

Usually at this time of the year players are hopping back and forth between clubs and, while there has been the usual share of that, on the managerial front nine of the 12 Premier sides show changes at the top.

Over the last two months it was at times reminiscent of Lannigans Ball (I stepped out, I stepped in again!) as Albert Slattery, Mike Shiels, Derek Braddish, Philip Power, Damian Conway and Ray McMahon moved aside while Daithi O'Donoghue, Aidan Ryan, Keith Higgins and Mike Aherne have switched allegiances.

With the dust now settling the focus returns to the football where Carew Park will face stiff competition to hold onto their title.

The champions have signed well in the close season and will fear nobody but the chasing pack of Pike, Boro, Regional, Fairview and Balla will be out to take the scalp of the Carew at every opportunity.

The big news on the transfer front was John Boyle's switch from Janesboro to Pike Rovers.

Other big signing were Keith Mawdsley's return to Aisling Annacotty and League of Ireland winner Bobby Ryan putting pen to paper for Ballynanty Rovers.

The Premier League proved an exciting affair to the last game last season and let's hope this time out the fans will be in for a similar treat.

Pike's run to the FAI Cup final kept local interest alive but the Hoops would be first to admit they need a big step up to see off the likes of Sheriff this time out.

For me the down side of last season was the continued verbal abuse thrown from some sidelines towards referees. We all know tempers flare and anyone will be forgiven for an odd outburst but continuous and orchestrated abuse should be dealt with by the clubs of the perpetrators before it ever goes further.

Below we take a look at the comings and goings of the top flight clubs;

CAREW PARK

The champions begin the defence of their title with a new management team in place. Former Regional supremo Mike Aherne bravely takes on the task of replacing Albert Slattery and will be assisted by Cecil Prendergast and Eoin O'Hagan.

The new regime have been busy in the off season with a number of impressive additions.

Alex Purcell joins from Moyross, David Cowpar and Ken Nealon from Regional, Ken O'Donoghue from Pallaskenry, Alex Assouiss Derek Hanlon and Jamie Kelly all return to the club where Gordon Stewart continues for another season...at least.

The only negative for the Champs is the loss of Tom Culhane but they still have not given up on persuading him back to the fold.

PIKE ROVERS

Last season's League and FAI Junior Cup runners up Pike Rovers have Eddie O'Donovan, Colm Enright and Daithi O'Donoghue at the helm and they have been busy boys of late.

John Boyle returns to the fold as does Kevin Barry, Pat McGarry and Colm Enright while Peter Ryan joins from Regional Utd.

Their work is still not done as they Hoops have a number of players slowly recovering from injury and they will be determined not to be caught short like last season.

Dave Ryan switches to Ballynanty Rovers for the coming season.

JANESBORO

Janesboro who had a disappointing finish to the season have drafted in former Geraldines man Aidan Ryan to join Shane O'Hanlon in charge of the side.

Danny O'Neill and Donie Curtin follow Ryan from 'Dines while other new additions are Cashel man Mike Ryan and goalkeeper John Mulready from Bridge Celtic.

Thomas Lyons continues his rehabilitation but John Boyle, Mike Hogan and Stephen Walsh move on while Conor Lynch looks to have brought a glittering career to an end but it's a long way to the end of the season so we'll hold off on the plaudits until then.

REGIONAL UTD

Manager Brian O'Callaghan will be assisted by Shane O'Donoghue as they look to bed in a large number of additions.

Evan Patterson and Ruairi Casserley move up from the B squad while Evan Cusack, Jack Molyneaux, Nathan Clancy and Byron Fitzgerald return to the Club.

Colm Hyland is a new signing while Mike Guerin joins from Moyross and former Corbally player Shane Cox also throws in his lot with the Dooradoyle side.

On the Debit side Rob Shier looks to have moved on to the Clare League.

FAIRVIEW RANGERS

Paul O'Donnell and Trevor Cosgrove remain in place and will be looking to maintain the building of the Fairview side.

Following the success of last season's youth's hopes are high of a number of gems to shine through. David Hannon looks the most likely with a deadly eye for goal.

Cian O'Donoghue signs from Cals while Christy Doyle, Craig Madigan and Eddie Byrnes, after an injury hit season will be like three new signings this time out.

The Kerry duo Jonathan Hannafin and Paudie Quinn are on board and while last season's keeper Andrew Walsh could miss much of the season, fellow Galway man Peter Healy signs from Mervue.

GERALDINES

Mike Considine and Keith Higgins take the reins at the 'Dines and once again they must rebuild after a number of defections.

The Duo have lost players the calibre of Danny O'Neill, Donie Curtin, Pat McGarry but have been shrewdly signing some capable replacements.

Former Wembley Rvs star Diarmuid O'Callaghan is back to action while the tigerish Philip Naughton switches from Summerville. The highly talented Cian Byrnes moves from Granville while Newport man Peter O'Sullivan tries his luck at the top flight.

BALLYNANTY ROVERS

Following Damian Conway's retirement Balla have installed an impressive trio to take command. Tom Daly, Gary Ryan and Declan Considine will provide huge experience and expertise to a young talented Balla squad.

David Dunphy has been persuaded to carry on which will delight the Blues while the addition of Bobby Ryan, Dave Ryan and Grant Murphy will add experience where it was needed.

Kevin Barry leaves to join Pike Rovers.

MOYROSS

Frank Hogan, Jason O'Connor and Stephen Conway will oversee the Moyross side for the coming season as Philip Power steps aside after a number of years of sterling service to the club.

Mybamba Ndiaye Aisling's centre back has signed for the Northsiders, Kevin O'Connell from Fairview youths and Ger Myles also returns to the top flight after a number of high scoring seasons with Coonagh Utd.

Dean and John Mitchell also sign along with FAI Junior Cup winning goalkeeper Ronan Power. The Reds must plan without Alex Purcell, Mike Guerin and Grant Murphy but if the likes of Adrian Power, Barry Quinn and Ken Meehan can hit form they will prove formidable opponents.

AISLING ANNACOTTY

Mike McCarthy returns to Aisling aided by John Lysaght and Dermot Clune looking to rebuild the side again after a number of defections.

Keith Mawdsley makes a welcome return to the Junior ranks and Aisling Annacotty will hope he can repeat the stunning form he showed in the first half of last season scoring 26 times in 16 games.

Stephen Goggin and Chimka Manjor also return to the side where they will be joined by new goalkeeper Stephen Walsh who joins from Janesboro. In a clever move Jason Lipper is promoted from the B team and Jimmy Fyffe is due back from injury shortly.

SUMMERVILLE ROVERS

At the time of writing Summerville Rovers are struggling to get a squad together in time but old stalwarts Mike Costello and Mike Monahan have taken it upon themselves to put a fix in place and are confident they will succeed although they may be forced to call upon B and C players to tide them over the early games.

NENAGH AFC

Division 1A champions under the trio of Dearan O'Gorman, Dave Rooney and Shane O'Gorman were dealt a bitter blow in the close season with the news that the influential Michael O’Gorman will miss the season following a cruciate ligament operation. They will also be without Alan Sheehan to an American scholarship.

On the up side they welcome Michael Hogan back from Janesboro. Moldovan Alex Gardos also joins while Dylan Sheehan and Eoin Coffey will be huge assets following their step up from youth side.

KILMALLOCK

Kilmallock will be under the guidance of Playing managers Derek McCarthy and Mark Heffernan.

The County side have been quiet over the close season content to go with the squad that won them promotion last season.

The manager will be hoping to coax a number of last season's highly talented youth squad to make the step up to the Junior side.

>>> See fixtures for the

opening weeks of the LDL season on Page 18