Lisburn Castlereagh Junior Football league
The Lisburn Castlereagh Junior Football league was
League was founded in 1990 by the late Tommy Whiteside and then by Stanley Sheppard.
After much pondering and pressure from local footballers in and around Lisburn area local football stalwart Tommy Whiteside and a few companions got together and set up the Lisburn Football League, initially starting out with 6 teams and progressed over the years to over 130 teams with representative teams doing themselves proud in Milk and Foyle Cups also produced full international players to name a few David Healy Aaron Hughes Neil Lennon Paddy McNair and many others more 3 age groups U11’s, U12’s and U13’s followed.
Over a number of years the League grew in numbers and quickly became the most prestigious league across NI. This was the league where everyone wanted to ply their trade and had teams travelling from all corners to prove how good they were.
Tommy was the chairman of the Lisburn Junior League for over 40 years, ably assisted over the years by friends from the footballing fraternity.
Tommy entered a Lisburn select team into the Foyle Cup tournament for a number years – hand picking his players from within the league, kitting them out in tracksuits and playing kits, arranging extra training, taking them to stay in Moville for a week of the tournament, and with the assistance of a few willing volunteers bringing the trophy home to Lisburn for a great number of years. The League can boast list of players who are now ‘stars’ in their right who were picked up whilst playing in the Lisburn league – David Healey, Jonnie Evans, Josh Magennis, Gary Hamilton to name but a few.
Unfortunately Tommy died in 2007 and his funeral was one of the largest ever in the district – attended by both local and international players, premier and Scottish league and also ROI players, who had started their footballing careers in the Lisburn League.
Stanley Sheppard had been at the forefront of the league since its inception but had been taking on a lot more responsibility for a few years, prior to Tommy’s death. Stanley Sheppard who had a successful footballing career himself, playing for the likes of Glenavon, and who had desire to progress local kids in their footballing careers, eventually took over the running of the league whenever Tommy’s ill health stopped his involvement.
No better man to follow in the footsteps of Tommy and in the capable hands of Stanley this league has grown and now boasts U11’s to U17’s.
Stanley has been supported by a strong committee who have helped the league to prosper.
Following a directive from UEFA regarding child development within junior football the Lisburn league set up U11’s 9-a-side football league which was focused on the development of the child rather than the old mental attitude of ‘winning’ at all costs. This proved extremely popular and the league had teams from far and wide looking to be accepted into the league. This was progressed into the U12’s which again was well accepted and has grown in strength ever since.
This has now progressed to an u10s set up at the superb Colin Glen 3g dome.
Currently there are approximately 45 small sided games at 9-a-side level being played every Saturday. Each of these matches are covered by a referee, as are all of the other matches from u13 to U16 level.
The League remain in a very sound position and looks forward to progressing and moving onwards in the development of junior football for both boys and girls with new girls leagues forth coming.
Currently the league is sponsored by Briggs equipment and Colin Glen, This relationship will hopefully prosper over the coming years