SFAI Cups to resume next month

The two remaining Mayo clubs in the 2019/20 SFAI Skechers National Cups received the welcome news last night that the competitions are to resume.

Castlebar Celtic and Kiltimagh/Knock United had reached the quarterfinals of the Under 14 and Under 16 competitions respectively before the Covid-19 pandemic brought a halt to all sport in the country in March.

Then, after the SFAI Executive Committee decided to cancel competitions that had not been completed at both Skechers Cup (club) and SUBWAY (inter-league) levels in May, both clubs got involved in a campaign to have that decision reversed.

“We're absolutely delighted,” said Kiltimagh Knock United chairman Martin Canny in reaction to the news that the competitions will resume next month.

He added: “There was a small celebration last night when I rang the two Under 16 team managers to let them know the news.

“This team has reached the latter stages of the competition in each of the past few years – they got to the quarterfinal last year and the semi-final the year before – and the challenge this year was to get to the final. We could worry about winning it after that!

“They had worked very hard, training right through the winter, mainly for this competition. Every fella wants to get as far as possible in the SFAI Cup; everyone wants to play on the big stage. The chance to win it now is back on and they're delighted to have a chance to take it.”

Kiltimagh Knock United have been drawn at home to Shannon Town United in their last eight game, while Castlebar Celtic also have home advantage for their quarterfinal against arguably the most illustrious club in Irish football, Shamrock Rovers.

Shane Quigley, a member of the Celtic coaching team, was strongly involved in the campaign to get the SFAI Cups back on.

That campaign took on momentum in early June, when Mr. Quigley said: “All we were looking for when we contacted the SFAI was that they would delay their decision to cancel. Our goal was to get them to look at making a decision at the end of July or beginning of August rather than the middle of May.”

It took a while, but Celtic and KK got the result they were looking for off the pitch. The challenge now reverts to the playing field, where both clubs will be looking for a similarly positive outcome.

The quarterfinals of the SFAI Cups for Celtic and KK have been scheduled for August 15/16, with semi-finals to be played on August 22/23 and finals on August 29/30.

*Pictured above, Kiltimagh/Knock United's Under 16 squad which now has an SFAI Cup quarterfinal to look forward to.