Action from the Dundalk Schoolboys' League. (Pic: Ciarán Culligan)
Dundalk Schoolboys’ League chairman Michael Dillon feels the clubs’ decision to remain with ‘calendar football’ could help playing numbers to increase.
Member outfits voted to retain the summer programme - which is currently in its first year following the FAI’s directive for all local leagues to switch from a winter-spring basis - at Bellew Park last Monday night at an EGM, an opting which has been widely praised.
The FAI have recently removed their order in this respect, with schoolboys’ leagues in both Dublin and Cork having reverted to a winter-spring season, but Dillon is hopeful Dundalk’s persistence will pay off.
“We’ve been playing winter football for quite a while and it hasn’t been hugely successful, I don’t think,” he told The Democrat.
“It’s about 20 years since Dundalk Schoolboys’ League switched from summer to winter; we’ve played a lot of winter football and I don’t know if things have improved in that time.
“I know playing on poor pitches, in cold weather and in the rain, players and parents aren’t inclined to come out.
“What I notice in the summer we’ve had so far is that there are a lot more people out watching the games and there’s other, smaller children playing on the sidelines when the games are going ahead.
“Hopefully, if we can get the right days to play the games and right combinations of not interfering with other sports, I think there’s a possibility of improving numbers.”
On the most recent meeting of clubs, Dillon reflected upon it positively, saying there is now a clear direction in which the committee can develop the juveniles’ game locally.
“The clubs have decided to go forward with summer football; now the task is to make it work. We’ve always said we were going to review it as the season went on and at the end, and make some changes.
“There are some changes that will be made for the coming summer season where we will shorten the break, we’ll look at playing away from weekends at some of the age-groups, take on board the issues that the clubs had and try to make it better and work for everybody.
“We knew ahead of time that the majority of clubs were in favour of remaining. There was lively debate and a lot of issues raised. Everybody accepted that there are good things about playing summer football and everyone accepted that there are other issues that need to be solved as well.
“It’s incumbent on everybody now to try and make it work.”