Leinster Senior League: Top-Flight 2022/23 Season Preview

by Jonny Stapleton
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BY JONNY STAPLETON

Its kick-off time for grassroots football this weekend as the Leinster Senior League’s four Intermediate divisions return with a full list of fixtures.

The LOI may be the ‘greatest league in the world’ but there is a core group within the football family who would argue that Senior Sunday is the greatest division in Ireland.

The most talent-packed amateur division in the country, Senior Sunday certainly entertained last season – and looks likely to do so again throughout this term. Here’s what you need to know about the season ahead.

31 July 2022; Oisín O’Reilly of Galway United and Nathan Bell of Bluebell United during the Extra.ie FAI Cup First Round match between Bluebell United and Galway United at Tolka Park in Dublin. Photo by Ben McShane/Sportsfile

Wayside Celtic

(Last Season 10th)

Not by the wayside, but Wayside Celtic fell away a little at the end of last season, three defeats and a draw in their final five games denied them a chance of a top-half finish. Ross Zambra will be hoping for more staying power this season and although he won’t want Dean Mahon’s form to dip, he may hope the young netminder won’t have to produce as many standout performances this season coming.

Home Farm

(Last season 6th)

Home Farm cemented their status as a top-flight side last season finishing a very respectable sixth just ahead of the likes of Bangor GG, Maynooth and Bluebell. They will be looking to do something similar this term in an even more competitive top flight. Ireland amateur international Jack McMullan could prove key again.

Liffey Wanderers

(Last season 5th)

Liffey Wanderers finished the best of the rest last season. A poor final few league games threatened to take the gloss off what was a solid first campaign under Deko Hevey but cup success ensured there was reason to celebrate. They will look to build on the good start and see if they can stay the course this term. The Charlie Cahill Cup holders love a cup run and remain a team to watch out for in all of the major cup contests.

Bangor celtic

(Last season 7th)

It’s back to just Bangor Celtic this season. The Walkinstown club have dropped the GG after a link up with Greenhills Greenpark. There is excitement around making Beechfield Park their new home.

Ballymun Utd

(Last season promoted)

Ballymun United saw off the challenge of St Patricks CY to secure third place in Senior 1 Sunday last season and more importantly a place back at the Intermediate top table.

There isn’t as much hype about the young squad as there is fellow promoted side Lucan United but they should be competitive. They lost Jarlath Jones to Athlone Town over the summer and will look to Gary Gannon to get them goals.  

Glebe North

(Last season promoted)

A bit of a Senior Sunday, Senior Sunday 1 yo yo side, Glebe North are traveling back up the string. The Balbriggan outfit are back in the top flight and the welcome addition will be hoping to remain there by staying out of the bottom three.

Malahide United

(Last season 4th)

The 2020 Champions were unable to retain last term, faltering on the final lap and ultimately finishing last in a dramatic and exciting title race.

The Gannon Park side already have a competitive win under their belt this season having defeated Salthill Devon in the first round of the FAI Senior Cup.

Jordi Ebanda (inset) is said to be in good form and the likes of Sam Simpson, Dylan Cashin and Cillian Timmons are likely to be important again.

Killester Donny

(Last season 3rd)

Gary Howlett’s men were in with a chance of league success right up and until the final day of last season, they will be hoping for another challenge this term.

Their FAI Cup defeat to newly-promoted Lucan United seems to have prompted the bookies to increase their title odds, but they have a strong capable squad that includes Irish amateur international’s and two of the league’s top performers in Sean Rodgers and Steven Chambers.

Crumlin United

(Last season Champions)

Crumlin United will start the season with manager James Lee’s ‘Good teams win great teams retain’ message ringing in their years. The Champions will go all out to retain. They have looked good in pre-season and will be particularly buoyed by the fact Senior Sunday top scorer Jake Walker still wears number 9 at the club.  

St Mochta’s

(Last Season Runners Up)

The talent-packed squad finished just two points off Crumlin and top spot last season. They will be hoping to finish top of the pile this season. Brian McCarthy didn’t shuffle the deck too much and managed to keep ace in the pack Gareth McCafferty, who will have  top goal scorer aspirations.

  Lucan United

  (Last season promoted)

Survival is generally the main aim of any side that just secured promotion to the top flight but there are many suggesting Lucan United are capable of a lot more than just avoiding the trap door. Indeed, the bookies have the newly promoted outfit as third favourites for the title ahead of the likes of Malahide and Killester, who were in contention up and until the final week last season, and Intermediate Cup finalists Bluebell United. John Doyle has strengthened by adding some underage LOI talent to a solid squad.

Bluebell United

(Last Season 9th)

It’s all change at the Intermediate Cup finalists with a new manager and some very interesting signings including former  League of Ireland star Killian Brennan. Manager William Nicholson has also brought back some fan favourites who previously enjoyed massive success in ‘Bell colours, such as former LOI midfielder Robert ‘Boca’ Bailey, standout right back Karl Russell and goal-getter Shane Strich.

Kilnamanagh

(Last season 11th)

Kilnamnagh go into the new season under new management. Former Shamrock Rovers defender Conor Kenna takes over from local legend and former Forrest left back Keith Foy, who lead the Tallaght side to the top flight. Dean Clarke will be important.

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