St Michael’s have become the latest amateur club to leave the AUL for the Leinster Senior League following a successful appeal this week.
The Dublin Gazette recently revealed Michael’s were one of four clubs, alongside Rivervalley Rangers, Columbas Rovers and East Wall Rovers, jumping ship from the ailing league.
They’ve since been joined by a fifth in Blackrock and, while Rivervalley are by far the highest-profile, it’s another blow for the once-thriving AUL.
The story of Michael’s is somewhat different to the others as the club was formed just three years ago, and joined the AUL from the Leinster Football League a year later.
By virtue of a dozen clubs leaving AUL over two years, Michael’s were promoted to Premier B earlier than anticipated and finished bottom.
The season finished on a high, however, as they reached the RPD Cup final after their semi-final defeat to Kippure was overturned on appeal due to them fielding a suspended player.
The final was delayed five weeks as Kippure appealed to the Leinster Football Association, but finally went ahead with Rivervalley emerging 3-1 winners at the AUL Complex.
That doesn’t tell the whole story as Michael’s had to play their right back in goal, due to their regular goalkeeper having booked a holiday before the unprecedented delay.
The decision had already been made to move to the larger LSL, however, and for club secretary Michael Russell, it’s a chance for the Inchicore club to start from scratch.
“Our motto since last Christmas has been ‘we’re pressing the reset button,’” Russell told the Dublin Gazette.
“When we started out three years ago, that was the first five-year plan. Unfortunately, when we went to the AUL that plan took a serious dint.
“That five-year plan we had three years ago is probably starting to be another five-year plan.”
The ambitious club, from a hotbed of Dublin football, will look to enter at the bottom end of Sunday football in Division 1 or Premier 1.
The Fran O’Brien-managed side have made huge strides off the field, and play at the state-of-the-art astro pitch in Brickfield, hope to build on the field from a solid base off it.
It helps that, rather than the north Dublin-centred AUL – most of the clubs at that level are based around Tallaght and south Dublin, and they’ve experience competing with many of them in recent friendlies.
“Most of our midseason friendlies have been against teams like Palmerstown and Marks, Tymon Bawn, Terenure.
“Our record against them was pretty good – I think we had four wins and two draws.
“That’s where we believe we’re at.”