Kilkenny United release lengthy statement following Women's National League departure

Fri, Jan 10 2020

Kilkenny United have released a lengthy statement in the wake of their surprise omission from the 2020 Women’s National League.

United were recently informed of their withdrawal from the Women’s National League by the Football Association of Ireland (FAI), and they lodged an appeal shortly after.

However, that appeal was to prove unsuccessful with Kilkenny issuing a statement at the time explaining; “Everyone at Kilkenny United is devastated by the news. The club has appealed the decision and it has been decided to support the FAI decision.

"Further statements will follow but for now we are all devastated.”

A further statement from the club has followed, where they challenged the reasons given to them for their forced withdrawal from the league.

As per Kilkenny’s statement, they were told by the FAI that they had not bonded with the local league, they had changed venues for home games and they did not train in Kilkenny.

In addition, their results were cited as were their inability to fulfil a fixture along with their lack of a qualified manager.

The club have provided a statement defending itself via their social media channels.

Statement in full

Kilkenny United WFC as a club feel very let down by the FAI Women`s Committee regarding our removal from the WNL for the 2020 Season. This has come as great shock to us and to our players who have been left devastated by the news. When the club received its initial email regarding our removal from the WNL, before we knew about the below details, the club was presented with “performance in both on and off-field matters”.

The Club is very disappointed in the wording used by the FAI Women’s Committee “performance in both on and off-field matters”. The club feels very upset regarding the quote “on field matters” as our players and management over the past 5 seasons have worked very hard to get results. Our players have worked very hard in trainings, outside of trainings and on the field to get results and there is no one more disappointed than them that it didn’t happen.

The Women’s Committee quote shows a lack of respect towards the players, Coaches and Club efforts every week. Their quote is no better than others on social media platforms such as twitter with their insults towards the team’s results.

The Club came to the Women’s Committee in 2015 with a ten-year plan to develop a club and Women’s football in the South East. We are only halfway through that plan and as a Club we are moving forward all the time. Several things that the Club has been told by the FAI that we did wrong over the past 5 seasons in the WNL:

1) Not bonding with the local league

2) Changing venue for home games

3) Not training in Kilkenny

4) Results

5) Failing to fulfil a fixture

6) Failure to have a qualified manager

1) The Club had sent several emails in 2017 and 2018 to the Local League with NO responses. The WNL Committee were then asked to set up a meeting with the Local League and we also sent emails to the RDO of Kilkenny to try resolve any issues the Local League had with us. This took a while and when the WNL did come down this year, it was a waste of time for all parties. The WNL said on the day of the meeting that they would meet with us first and then the Local League would come after. We would then all sit around a table for a chat. Unfortunately, this did not happen, as the Local League walked straight out the door and showed absolutely no respect to us at all and what was the outcome, Carlow Kilkenny FC got rewarded an Under 17 WNL Licence. A disgraceful decision with no RESPECT shown to Kilkenny United. Why not give it too both clubs, we asked? Not enough quality in the area apparently. So, we asked well what are the leagues doing over the past 10 years? No Response. What did we do wrong?

2) This season we moved 4 times from the Watershed to Thomastown United pitch which is also a remarkable venue. Kilkenny United tried to ensure all fixtures went ahead and have changed the venue with the FAI aware of the change and not as a last-minute decision. We also played in Home Farm FC ground versus Shelbourne FC which again was agreed with all parties. With both clubs having players in college or work and with the game needing to be played midweek, it was decided to help both sets of players and the FAI said, find a suitable venue and I think you would agree that Home Farm is an exceptional venue with the pitch recently being used as a host venue for the U17 European Championships held in Ireland. THIS VENUE WAS AGREED WITH ALL PARTIES.

3) Every year trials were held in KILKENNY. Players trained with the club prior to the start of the season and decisions were made by the club and manager to train away from Kilkenny to suit all the players travelling from afar who signed for the club.

4) As we said above, The Club knows the situation about results. We were always told it was about developing the League, players and coaches at an Elite level. Over the past 5 seasons, the club has produced quality players and coaches. Some players and coaches got an opportunity to play/coach at League of Ireland through us and probably wouldn’t have got that elsewhere. They have gone on and played at a higher level and succeeded at it. Its football, that’s what happens, you develop and continue develop and eventually Kilkenny United will be one of the top clubs in the country. It takes time. There is nobody more disappointed that results didn’t come than myself but when you go up on a Sunday and pay for refs, facilities, Ambulance, food, programmes etc. etc. it’s all worthwhile when you see the effort being put in by the Coaches and players. Yes, we have had a few bad days in the office but so did Southampton v Leicester City in the Premier League. As long as we could see development every week that was all that mattered for the Committee of Kilkenny United. We believed that the results would come eventually.

5) This was a very low point from the club points of view, not been able to fulfil a fixture. Due to several reasons on the day such as injuries, holidays, numbers. It’s no excuse but it was a very low point for the club during our time in the WNL. 6) In the 2015-16 and 2016 season, Noel Kealy took charge of the team. At the time a UEFA B Licence Coach was the criteria. In 2017, Casey McQuillan was in charge, a UEFA A Licence Coach. In 2018 it was myself and yes, I only had my B licence, but Dave Bell was working with my Development as a Coach during this time. In 2019 Kane Lynch was in Charge until August before James Dermody took over from then until the end of the season, All UEFA A licence Coaches.

I think you will see that from the 6 points mentioned above that we have always performed to the level as a LOI Club, except for two games not fulfilled but is this enough to throw us out when you look at what is going on in the LOI Men’s league and the FAI themselves? We feel it isn’t, which is why we appealed the original decision.

This year we had already held trials for the 2020 season, with 18 new players turning up from Kilkenny, Kilcullen, Waterford and other surrounding areas to play for Kilkenny United Women`s FC. This for us is huge as the club continues to grow with interest from more players and coaches looking to develop themselves with Kilkenny United.

We are very hurt by the decision; we feel again the club had moved forward last season and we were really looking forward to seeing our young team push on again in 2020. Remember, we have been developing players of a very young age and they themselves are now becoming very good WNL Players.

I’m sure several of them will end up in clubs in the WNL and we wish them all the best for the future and would like to thank them for all their efforts with Kilkenny United WFC. Kilkenny United WFC were always proud supporters of the FAI endorsed 20x20 campaign, encouraging girls of all ages to get involved in the sport.

We encouraged girls as young as 5 to come up and play football with Kilkenny United WFC and Kilkenny United OTF Academy. The decision by the FAI has undone a lot of the hard work gone into the promotion of this campaign by those involved with Kilkenny United WFC The Committee of Kilkenny United will regroup early in 2020 to discuss the future of Kilkenny United Women`s FC.

HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone who has supported us for our 5 seasons in the WNL. In particular, Liam & Dara from Modern Printers and our other sponsors throughout our time in the WNL, The public for coming to our games, supporting us on Social media and helping to promote Women’s Soccer in the Country, the other Clubs in the WNL who have given advice and support to us throughout our time in the WNL and of Course the Committee of Kilkenny United.

Thank you for all your hard work including Keith and Oisín for all our posters and Match day events. Committee - Carol, Vanessa, Ronan, Angeline, Elaine, Chris, Declan, Stephen, Caroline for all your help over the years.

Thank you.

Regards,

Shane Murray