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League in honor of football heritage at Derdimus
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League in honor of football heritage at Derdimus

Sunday will be a red letter day for local football as the Kilkenny & District League unveil two plaques commemorating their proud history.

The heritage plaques at the league’s headquarters in Derdimus record memorable events dating back to the formation of Kilkenny AFC in 1893. Its subsequent formation dates from 1910 when Kilkenny Celtic was formed and the first Kilkenny AFC League in 1911 to the first Irish Free State League. in 1926. The League of 1948 is also recorded, when football was reorganized after the Second World War.

The second plaque honors the achievements of various Kilkenny teams. The League went on to win five national FAI Oscar Traynor Cup titles in 1976, 1997, 1999, 2001 and 2002. They won the FAI Youths’ interleague in 1984 and 2011. Emfa won the League of Ireland Shield in 1987 and the LOI First Division. title in 1997. Evergreen Ladies won the Ladies FAI Women’s Cup final in 1973 and 1974.

The plaques also recognize some other important milestones in the history of Kilkenny football, such as the purchase of the Derdimus ground in 1979, the opening of Derdimus Park in 1983 and the all-weather artificial pitch in 2016. The rebranding of Emfa in the League of Ireland as Kilkenny City in 1989 is also recorded.

The League also commemorates all the great players, administrators and referees who fought for football in Ireland during very difficult times and who served Kilkenny football so well for over 130 years. It was not popular or welcome for the first seventy years of its existence. The lifting of the GAA ban on ‘foreign games’ in 1969 was a serious game changer in terms of the growth and popularity of the game in rural Ireland.

Guests of honor include the ‘elder statesmen’ of Kilkenny football Joe Doyle, Tom Hogan and Ber Scott, as well as many of the players who have represented the K&DL and its affiliated clubs for the past 75 or so years.

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