Castleisland AFC will kick off its season next weekend with the first round of senior league games taking place on Sunday September 8th.
By Neil O’Sullivan
Once again, the club will have two senior teams competing in the top two leagues of Kerry soccer with the A team taking part in Premier A and the B team taking their place in the second tier, Premier B.
Castleisland A Team
The management paring of Edmond Hartnett and Mike McCarthy will once again be at the helm for the A team and this season they are joined by another Mike McCarthy known as Currow Mike, who picked up an injury last season and will now become a part of the backroom team. Mike has been a very successful manager of the A team in recent years. Last season the A team made it all the way to the league final before losing out to Killarney Celtic so this year there will be a lot of expectation surrounding the panel of talented players.
Panel of 20
Preparations for the new season began eight weeks ago as the panel of 20 went through a tough pre-season campaign which involved nights at the boxing club, core sessions with Pat Murphy and finishing with sessions back on the new astro turf pitch.
Seasoned professionals such as Aidan O’Callaghan, Paul Carmody and Pierce Brosnan will once again be at the forefront of the squad and are surrounded by a nice crop of younger players which Hartnett added to the panel last season.
Limited Squad Places
Training sessions have been very competitive with limited squad places up for grabs on match days and the management team will be satisfied with preseason preparations to date.
Premier A this season is down to 8 teams with two Tralee teams pulling out last season and Dingle strangely being placed in the third tier of Kerry soccer after finishing in mid table in Premier A last year.
The usual suspects will be vying for a place in the final with Killarney Celtic, Athletic, Listowel, Fenit, Dynamos and Castleisland all pushing for a place in the top two.
‘A’ Team Aims
The other two teams that make up the division are Classic FC a great club who are welcomed back to Premier A after a few years in Premier B and MEK Galaxy who make up the final number.
The aim for the A team will once again be to make the league final and hopefully go one better at the end of the season. There is also plenty of cup action to look forward to and the squad will be hoping to challenge for the Greyhound Bar Cup and to put in a good run in the Munster and FAI Junior Cups.
Castleisland B Team
The B team has been taken over by Mike Cahill who will take his place as player manager for the season. Mike of course, is a very experienced player having played with the club for many years now and is still looking to fill his backroom team should anyone be interested in helping out for the year.
The B team have had great numbers turning out to pre-season training with a lot of new faces taking their place among the squad.
Played Professional Soccer
Mike will have the task of trying to blend the new faces in with some of the experienced squad. Players like Shane O’Loughlin, Ethan O’Connor, Dylan Browne and Shane Redmond who has signed up this year having played professional soccer with the likes of Bray Wanderers and Darlington will be at the forefront of the squad for the season.
Premier B is also made up of 8 teams and is wide open for the upcoming season.
A Good Start
Getting off to a good start is very important if the lads are to push for a place in the league final. The likes of Killorglin, Rattoo Rovers, Camp United and Castleisland will all be early favourites to make the league final.
The aim for the B’s this season is to add to the trophy cabinet and they will have live chances in both Premier B and the Domino’s Pizza reserve cup.
Fixtures for the new season will be released on Monday night so keep your eyes on the Castleisland AFC Facebook page for updates and we hope to see a big crowd down at Georgie O’Callaghan Park to support both the A and B teams for the new season.