Once again football managers and players in the Ballymoneu and Moyle areas were left frustrated as yet another weekend’s fixtures were virtually wiped out because of the weather.
A light snowfall in the early hours of Saturday morning saw pitches closed across the Borough and yet another set of games to be added to the ever increasing list of matches to be re-scheduled.
Times Sport spoke to a local manager and player about the situation and asked them for their thoughts on the issue.
Ballymoney United boss Peter Cairns had been looking forward to this weekend’s game against Strabane as his side have been playing week since the return to league action following the Christmas break.
“I think we are finding it hard at the minute as we have only played one competitive game since the 20th of November but unfortunately the weather is unpredictable and we just have to keep working hard at training and try our best to be prepared when we do finally get a run of games,” said Cairns.
“I thought the games may have been cancelled prematurely on Saturday but in hindsight and seeing the rainfall it was the right call. It is frustrating for players and management teams but I do understand councils are trying to protect the pitches and it may help us in the long term when the weather improves.”
Ryan Gurney, a player/manager for Glebe Rangers Reserves who play in the Coleraine & District Morning league was far from happy: “Yet another Saturday ruined! I think junior football should look at the league of Ireland as an example and have the league starting in the Spring and finishing in Autumn. That would limit the amount of games being called off.
“I think that only being able to play ten games between August and the end of January is embarrassing as far as a league is concerned. We’ve had a couple off due to bad weather as you’d expect but there has been numerous weeks we’ve had no fixtures provided.
“The problem with junior teams is that the young lads are training every Tuesday and Thursday in the cold wet winter’s evenings and then to be left with so many free Saturdays. Keeping them interested to train when they know it could be two or three weeks before they have another competitive game is extremely hard.
“Come the end of the season it’s possible we could be playing three games a week and that is something that can have a massive impact on your squad due to lads working which would hurt the quality of your team which you can put out for midweek games.
“I’ve been saying for years the leagues need a major shake up. Start the league in March and finish it around late October that way fixtures should run week by week with few games being called off due to poor weather. “It would increase the number of supporters with the weather being more pleasant and more importantly the players would enjoy playing and training in the better months. Quite frankly coming home from work to stand out on a cold evening takes a high level of commitment and it’s getting harder to keep younger players motivated in the winter months - Junior football needs a major revamp!