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New Kerry soccer season ready to tip off

Looking ahead to the Premier A and Premier B 2021/’22 competitions

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After going through unprecedented times over the past year or more some form of stability will pertain when the new KDL season gets up and running again.

Like everyone else in society clubs were brought to a standstill and the only bit of relief came in recent months when a series of short tournaments were run off to give teams some match practice ahead of the new season.

Clubs have missed out substantially on fund raising ventures as a lot of clubs had to cease their weekly lotteries and that came at the big price for clubs that need regular revenue coming in to fulfil their financial commitments.

Of course it has hit the KDL in a major way as they missed out on all the gate takings over the past year and not only from KDL clubs but also from League of Ireland games.

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It also ate into the pockets of referees who missed out on the weekly income.

However things are looking much brighter now and while the year that has passed by will only be remembered for the wrong reasons it is time for everyone involved in the game around the county to take stock and push ahead for a brand new season with everyone keeping their fingers crossed that it won’t be hit by Covid-19 again.

This is no certainty but on the whole everything is starting to become more positive now and the road ahead appears to be optimistic.

Clubs have got the opportunity to play games in recent weeks and it has given team managers an opportunity to size up their squads for the season that lies ahead.

After the success of the recent tournaments which were run off adhering to a pre - arranged fixtures programme, now seems to be the right time to face the new season with a full fixtures schedule in place for every club in the KDL.

It has been clearly shown now that a fixture list works if it is strictly adhered to and the ball is in the KDL’s court now and they will never have a better chance to sort out fixtures once and for all.

Every other league in the country do it so there is now excuse for the KDL to renege on this issue which so many clubs have been crying out for.

PREMIER A

Killarney Celtic, Killarney Athletic, Castleisland, Listowel Celtic, Tralee Dynamos, Classic FC, Killorglin, Camp United

Like most seasons Premier A is fairly easy to predict as it is just a case can anyone topple Killarney Celtic who have been the kingpins of Kerry soccer now for a long time.

While their arch rivals Killarney Athletic and Castleisland have lowered their sails a few times they always come back with a vengeance and capture silverware again.

Their major asset is that they have a great underage structure in place and now have three senior teams in the KDL which is a huge achievement.

Year in year out they keep coming up with young exciting players and in more recent years have been bringing in key players from other clubs.

Joining the club is a dream carrot as they hardly go any season without winning some kind of silverware.

The have won the Champions League Trophy twice and were crowned FAI Youths Champions last season. They were also crowned Munster Youths Champions back in 2011.

They make a habit of getting managers of a good pedigree and when anyone talks about manager duties they are expected to deliver silverware.

They have lost of couple of key players from last season with Matt Keane and Shane Lowth going on to play League of Ireland football with Treaty United where they are doing very well.

The club did not participate in the KDL Challenge Cup and focused their attention on playing strong teams from outside the county, such as Pike Rovers and St Michaels.

Team manager Brian Spillane has been out scouting for players also so a few new faces may emerge with the league kick off.

Outside of Killarney Celtic, Castleisland are a side that can beat any team on their day and have been grinding out great results against top opposition.

Their brand of football has also changed quite a bit now as when they were playing on grass they excelled at the long ball games and were very hard to beat if the going was soft underneath.

However, now they have adjusted to Georgie O’Callaghan Park and play a more attractive brand of football keeping the ball on the deck a lot more.

Manager Edmond Hartnett has used the Challenge Cup competition to blood a few new young players and has been pleased with the way the team is shaping up.

Meanwhile, Killarney Athletic will also have high aspirations in the league title race and they are as good as most of the main contenders.

They seem to have a good sound squad of players and a few new additions won’t do them any harm.

Their form from last season makes them strong contenders but they will have to move up a few gears if they are to last the pace of their fellow townies.

Listowel Celtic could be the surprise packet as they have a very strong panel of players and if they can get off to a winning start and keep the momentum going they will be realistic contenders.

With Paudie Quinn back playing great football again and with Ashley Kelliher scoring bag fulls of goals not too many sides will take points of them especially at Pat Kennedy Park.

Tralee Dynamos are another side that would like to be in the title race but unless they can strengthen up their squad they won’t be strong enough to feature in the title race.

At present they are a mid-table side and have to get new players if they are to have any hope of featuring in the title race.

After that Classic FC, Killorglin and Camp United will be fighting to stay in the division and they will have a big fight on their hands.

It is very regrettable that there are not more teams in the division as with eight teams the promoted sides have very little chance of surviving in Premier A.

That said, none of the clubs are involved to make up the numbers and who knows what has happened behind the scenes over the past year and some of the sides might be stronger that we are led to appear.

PREMIER B

Fenit Samphires, Castlegregory, MEK Galaxy, Ballyhar Dynamos, Rattoo Rovers, Asdee Rovers, Castleisland B, Killarney Celtic B

Looking at this division the club that stands out is Fenit Samphires and the seasiders seem to be the side to beat here.

They have got an injection of confidence with the appointment of former Mitches Avenue player David Hennessy as team manager.

Hennessy has a wealth of experience behind him and will also be able to entice some good players from the town of Tralee to join his ranks.

The seasiders had a couple of very good seasons when they were in Premier A and but for poor results late in the season they could have featured in the title race.

MEK Galaxy is another side that must be taken seriously as they will have benefited from their year in the higher tier of the KDL.

Manager Darragh O’Regan has moulded a nice side together who play an attractive brand of football.

He puts a lot of emphasis on coaching and his players have benefited greatly as a result.

Ballyhar Dynamos will also be hoping to make an impression in this division and with a bit of luck they can’t be discounted.

Manager Donal O’Donoghue has been working hard behind the scenes preparing for what lies ahead and he will be hoping they can more that hold their own in the division.

It is impossible to know how Rattoo Rovers will get on as they had two teams last year and never fulfilled their fixtures at the end of the season.

Castleisland B can’t be taken too lightly either as they went close to reaching the final last season while of course Killarney Celtic B are as good as any team in the division.

Newly promoted Castlegregory and Asdee Rovers will have a fight on their hands to survive in the division.


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