Mystery as Social Club opt out of FA Cup
Corona League outfit Footy Kings have been drawn against St George’s Colts in the preliminary round of the FA Cup for the second straight year.
Footy Kings, who lost 4-1 despite taking the lead, will return to Wellington Oval on October 14 as the only Corona League representative.
Last year three teams from the Corona League entered the FA Cup, all losing in the preliminary round, as league champions West End United went down to BAA and Tuff Dogs lost to St David’s.
Two First Division sides were missing from yesterday’s draw made by Shannon Burgess, chairman of the competitions committee, with Ireland Rangers and Young Men’s Social Club opting not to compete this year.
Social Club are three-times winners of the FA Cup, achieving their success in consecutive years in the heyday in the 1960s.
“The protocol is you indicate the competitions in which you want to participate,” Burgess said. “Obviously with that, there is a registration fee and perhaps you have to consider the depth of your team.
“I haven’t had a personal conversation with either club, but both have chosen not to enter the FA Cup competition. Ireland Rangers have made the decision at least in the last three or four seasons.”
Four preliminary round matches will be played, with Hamilton Parish taking on Flanagan’s Onions in the first match at Wellington Oval, while Somerset Eagles host Vasco at White Hill Field and Devonshire Colts meet St David’s at Police Field.
Wolves and Southampton, last year’s beaten finalists, have received byes.
Vasco, back in the league for the first time in nearly two decades, are also past winners of the FA Cup, winning the cup five times between 1981 and 1998.
Burgess, who captained Devonshire Colts to FA Cup success as a First Division team in 2007, when they beat Premier Division team Boulevard 2-0 in the final, says the competition still produces the unexpected, with Southampton Rangers reaching last year’s final as a First Division team.
Defeat by Robin Hood in the final was Rangers’ only defeat of the season, yet they still missed out on promotion.
“I think the magic is still there,” Burgess added. “It is the only final that is still played at the National Stadium. It gives the players the incentive to play on the ‘carpet’.
“Attendances for football in general have declined, and we’re trying to figure out ways to change that.
“But I saw that the attendances at the final actually improved over the last few seasons, maybe because of the match-ups. I think the fact that Corona teams are still entering adds a little spice to it.
“The runs that Paget and Southampton Rangers experienced last year brought a lot of excitement to the competition. We’ll see what happens this year.”
There will be no replays in the competition, with matches going to extra time and penalty kicks.
The Premier Division teams will enter the competition in the round of 16 on the weekend of January 19 to 21.
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