By Jonny Stapleton
“There are more teams leaving the AUL for the LSL than there are unemployed kids leaving Ireland for Australia,” one JSP reader commented on news of Ballymun United’s league migration.
The sentiment that like Australia the LSL are brighter, happier, more productive and even better run pastures was deliberately implied.
The vast majority of the reaction surrounding any AUL departure followed a similar trend. Indeed, some of that negative reaction turned so vitriolic that the JSP was on Facebook more than an iPhone armed teen constantly monitoring for comments of the over the top kind.
It was far from a debate. The JSP readers that expressed an opinion on the matter all heaped blame the way of the people running one of the largest and most popular leagues in the country.
The AUL cabinet it seemed were doing as bad in the footballing polls as Labour or Fine Geal were in polls less important to some passionate football fans.
Going on the reaction the AUL won the blame game by the same margin as Germany beat Brazil in the World Cup semi final.
It was heavily suggested frustration rather than a fresh start, annoyance rather than ambition were the catalyst behind the four clubs to leave’s league jump.
It seemed strange to the JSP. A league that can nigh on generate as much interest as the Airicty League on occasion, boasts one of the best amateur sides in the country in Sheriff YC, lays claim to the Oscar Traynor winners and has great facilities, generated such one sided criticism.
Cross league migration is nothing new. A lot of major LSL sides have AUL roots. Tolka Rovers, Cherry Orchard, Killester and many more have all got AUL backgrounds.
It seems to The JSP some clubs just aspire to play Intermediate football and reach the highest level possible. The likes of Kilbarrack and Sheriff proved again this year that some clubs are of Intermediate standard, but are content remain in Junior football, maybe because it allows passage into the FAI Junior Cup, the most popular and prestigious knock out tournament in amateur football.
Logistics could also be a factor or just personal preference? The debate continued in The JSP office. We know all too well that criticising committees can prove a past time more common in Ireland than barbecuing shrimp is Down Under.
No matter the acronym AUL, LSL, MDL, TSDL etc. no league across the land has been given five stars by every footballing critic.
However, rather than play devils advocate the site that prides itself on putting football before politics felt there was a simple answer to what seemed such a complex argument.
Ask the clubs involved why they decided to make the league leap!
We felt it unfair to get the reaction from those who changed league banner in seasons past preferring to look at the more immediate transferals and none of the responses we got were over AUL critical.
The Intermediate carrot seemed to lure both Ballymun United and former Premier B outfit Corduff FC. CIE Ranch are a club with significant Leinster Senior League history and sources close to the club seem to suggest they were just returning home.
At the point of publishing we had yet receive a response from Hartstown/Hunstown, whilst Seaview amalgamated with LSL outfit Portmarnock, which explains their transition.
They responses we received are below:
Ballymun United Chairman Bernard O’Connor, told the JSP:
“We are leaving the AUL with a heavy heart. We have made some great friends in the AUL and there are great people there but we felt a move was in the best interests of the club.”
“The club has always aspired to play at the highest level and we looked at this back in 2001 and 2009. The LSL is a new challenge for the club and and the aim would be to gain promotion each year until the club is in the top division. We have to meet that challenge for the club.”
Corduff committee man Keith Mooney explained:
“There was a couple of rule changes there that we felt didn’t seem to apply to bigger clubs. We did at times feel there were at times rules for some clubs that were not apply to others.
“We wanted to change two years ago, but we missed the deadline and we were always going to leave.
“From the football perspective, which was the main reason we left, we get to target Intermediate football and playing at the highest level you can. We are now chasing Intermediate football and that’s the goal.
“We look at Mocthas and Verona and we want to be where they are. We felt maybe they looked down on us a bit because we were in the AUL, but we are now working toward Intermediate status now.
“It will be difficult to get there especially with the other Premier B sides coming across, but we have kept all our players and we have young kids coming through all the time. The club is in a good place. The LSL also provides a change of scenery and there is a freshness to that. New clubs, new grounds, new cups and even new referees.”
We have yet to get correspondence from The Ranch, but sources close to the club indicate the Inchicore outfit is LSL at heart and returning was always inevitable. The club left the LSL under controversial circumstances a number of seasons ago and were always open to a return.
So there you have it straight from the horses mouth. Although much of the online criticism over departures from the AUL to the LSL were directed towards organisational structures, it seems that from speaking to the clubs involved, an aspiration towards intermediate football was the chief catalyst behind the moves.