club keeps its options open
by Caoimhinn Barr, Inishowen
Speculation that Killea FC could be set to rejoin
the Inishowen League continues this week after the
club confirmed that it has quit the Ulster Senior
League to return to ‘junior football’.
However the Inishowen League has so far received NO
official contact from the controversial border club.
PRO Terence Hegarty said he had no comment to make
on the matter because no approach had yet been made
“All we know is what we read in the papers,” he
But the Inishowen Independent has since learned that
a person did contact someone at the Inishowen League
to unofficially enquire as to how much it would cost
for Killea to re-register.
Killea left the league as First Division runners-up
some eight years ago and would be expected to enter
that same division if any bid to rejoin the
Inishowen League proves successful later this year.
A statement released from the club this week was far
from definitive though and did not mention the
Inishowen League specifically, referring only to
‘junior football’ throughout.
The border club, which found itself at the centre of
controversy last season for fielding players from
outside the FAI jurisdiction, is understood to be
struggling to field a team of local players during
the Ulster Senior League summer schedule.
Killea Officials have written to the USL committee
to inform them of their stance and have indicated
their desire to make the switch back to junior
“We had a meeting during the week to decide what we
were going to do. Anybody that is involved with the
club, from the youth team’s right up to the seniors,
had their say and the unanimous decision of all in
attendance was to pull out of the USL,” first team
manager Dermot O’Donnell said.
“I’d like us to stay but I understand where the club
is coming from. At the moment, we’re getting
hammered for playing players from the North. It’s
our only real option, though. The Gaelic has really
taken over here in the summer and we just can’t
field a local team.”
In a statement Killea FC said it had decided to go
back to junior football to strengthen the local base
of the club.
“Killea FC wish to confirm that the club has decided
to return to junior soccer. A letter of resignation
has gone to the Ulster Senior League. The main
reason we have left intermediate football is that we
wish to build a strong local base. Our ambition as a
club – we are almost 50 years in existence - has
always been to provide football for players from our
community and parish.
“We are also convinced that summer football does not
suit our purpose because of the many counter
attractions not least among them other sports. Our
club has an extensive under age football academy but
for whatever reason the majority of these players –
as they move into their late teens - are not getting
sufficient opportunity to stay in the sport and we
have to address that.
“As a side issue we have strong concerns about how
the FAI rule 55 was interpreted in our case and the
severity of the punishment handed out. It’s
important, however, to move on and a meeting of our
management committee, plus all our under-age team
managers - sixteen members were in attendance – met
a fortnight ago and decided unanimously that we
should return to junior soccer with an overwhelming
emphasis on the development of local players.”
Killea FC was expelled from the final of last
season’s Knockalla Caravans Cup for playing a
cup-tied player (Gareth Wade) in an earlier round,
while they were also adjudged to have breached Rule
55 of the Football Association of Ireland after
winger Paul Simon Tracey was found to be playing
with another club across the border in Derry.