Cup dreams alive

THEY played the quarter-final over a year ago. Now, after a long wait, the Jersey FA will confirm today that the representative team of the Jersey Football Combination will play their 2019-20 FA Inter-League Cup semi-final on 27 April.

After playing the quarter-final over a year ago, Jersey's Football Combination side are expected to play their 2019-20 FA Inter-League Cup semi-final on 27 April. Picture: JON GUEGAN.
After playing the quarter-final over a year ago, Jersey's Football Combination side are expected to play their 2019-20 FA Inter-League Cup semi-final on 27 April. Picture: JON GUEGAN.

Their opponents will be the Dorset Premier League and they will travel away to play the match at Bridport Football Club’s St Mary’s Field on the Tuesday evening. Jersey had qualified for the semi-finals after beating the Southern Amateur League 2-0 at Springfield last February just days before the UK and Jersey went into lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Should they get past Dorset they will play the West Cheshire League, who won their semi-final last year, in the final.

This was originally due to be held in Jersey but that has now been moved to the National Football Centre at St George’s Park to be played on Sunday 9 May.

‘We’re delighted to be able to take part in the fixture,’ said Jersey FA chief executive officer David Kennedy.

‘That was something that we was in doubt following significant funding cuts at the FA. But it’s great for us that there has been a desire to complete this competition and it gives players something to look forward to, with the added incentive it’s in George’s Park if we were to win it.

The semi-final was originally earmarked to be played two days earlier on the Sunday but both FAs decided that would be too disruptive to the leagues that are being represented already playing catch-up. It will mean an overnight stay for the players but Kennedy believes the area they are travelling to should be classified as green meaning they would only need to self-isolate until the first negative test result is received.

‘The original date for the fixture was 25 April, which was 24 hours before travel restrictions were due to ease off. As a result, Jersey Sport approached government on our behalf and were asked to consider a travel exemption and we were delighted government was supportive of that. So we could have played the fixture on the Sunday but after further dialogue with Dorset, we came to an agreement that it would be better for it to be played on the Tuesday as both leagues have a significant fixture list to complete before the end of the season.’

The FA Inter-League Cup consists of representative teams of the amateur leagues from step 7 of the National League System that began in 2003. Jersey were previous winners in 2012 beating Isle of Man 2-1 in the final.

‘We know it’s been a frustrating season. So it’s great just to share some good news as we start to emerge from what has been a very difficult time,’ continued Kennedy.

‘We are fortunate that players have been able to play a lot more football this season, more than most other leagues. But nonetheless, I’m sure that [manager] Martin [Cassidy] will make sure that they perform to the best on the day.’

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