Curtain comes down on soccer season

The curtain has come down on another KDL season and it has ended earlier than usual this year. This was mainly due to the fact that all cup competitions ended on the day except finals.

The league ran fairly smoothly also and that has a lot to due with the fact that so many clubs are using Mounthawk Park all weather pitch as their home base.

With the second pitch at Mounthawk now being upgraded to all weather prospects for the future are looking very bright.

The KD have been shooting down the suggestion by some clubs to revert to Summer Soccer they have had a change of heart and Summer soccer will become a reality for the 20/20 season.

Also the KDL are planning to enter a team in the League of Ireland Under-19 league in 20/20.

This is a very welcome development and now there will be a structure in place where aspiring young players can start playing League of Ireland Schoolboys soccer at under 13 and under 15 level and they can then progress to under-17 and under-19 level.

That sets the wheels in motion for the possibility of Kerry having a county team playing League of Ireland football at senior level not that far down the road.

This is good news for the future of the game in the county as these players will have to choose soccer as their number one sport from a young age.

At the end of the season there was 51 teams in the KDL and 19 of these use Mounthawk Park as their home base.

It is likely that a few teams will pull out for the new season while with the second all weather pitch available a few new teams are likely to enter.
It is very surprising that the KDl has no criteria for teams entering the league as all they want is 14 or 15 players and a few euro in the kitty and they will be accepted.

Of course Mounthawk Park is a revolving cash register for the KDL as all clubs using it as their base pay a fee for playing there while every player has to pay a €2 charge at the venue for every game.

That said it has to be noted that all the money collected at the gate is being ploughed back into the sport and has resulted in the revenue raised at the admission gate playing a very significant role in the KDL being able to fund all the big development projects that have taken place at Mounthawk Park over the past few years.

There are exciting times ahead at soccer headquarters in November when Kerry will host the U-16 Victory Shield International Football Tournament, run by the Schools Association Football International Board.

As well as their own facilities the KDL will be using both St Brendan's Park and Tralee Dynamos pitches to host the international tournament and a lot of work must be carried out in preparation for the big event.

A delegation from the FAI have inspected the facilities that are available and they are very pleased with them.

Teams from Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the hosts Republic of Ireland will compete in the event and it will bring a big crowd into Tralee.

The Republic of Ireland won this tournament for the first time ever in Northern Ireland last October and will look to retain the trophy in Tralee.

Tralee Town is set for a great financial and sporting boost in this off season period as all four teams their support staff and parents will be staying in town for a full week.

The Rose Hotel has been selected to look after all the accommodation needs of the four visiting teams.