Win a copy of a magic new book on junior football (Sunday League to youse Englishers) by Ger McCarthy.

off centre circle

A new book to be published this November entitled \’Off-Centre Circle’ chronicles the journey of a young soccer obsessive from  kicking a stuffed sock in his hallway as a toddler right through to togging out for an Over33 summer soccer league this past summer.

Every weekend thousands of Irish men, women and children up and down the country take to their local pitches to compete in junior soccer  league competitions.

You won’t find any Arab Sheiks offering millions of euro in investment here or post-match interviews with satellite  television stations. In most instances you will be lucky to find changing rooms or even adequate shower facilities. Yet for ninety minutes every Saturday or Sunday Irish amateur soccer league players cross that white line and give it their all as if it was as important as an English Premier League fixture and their very lives depended on it.

Where does a love affair with the game of soccer begin? What possesses an individual to play through the pain barrier, the years of knocks  and injuries for absolutely no financial gain? Why go through weekend after weekend of dodgy refereeing decisions, deplorable weather and  being embarrassed by opponents half your age? Pride, passion and downright obsession, that’s why.

This soon to be released book offers an insight into the life of a junior soccer player with recollections and memories through the eyes  of the author who has trained, played, obsessed, written about and cried over his beloved sport. The author recounts his life-long  fascination with the game from childhood through teenage years culminating in the story of his local club’s rise to glory in the West  Cork Soccer League.

Born and raised in Cork the author recounts early memories of watching Match of the Day, playing Subbuteo, reading Roy of the Rovers comics  and travelling to support his  beloved Cork City in the Shed end of Turner’s Cross, chanting and singing with the home fans.

The book also covers the author’s early years playing Under-18 soccer, breaking into the local junior team for the first time and then  fainting. Playing matches on the side of mountains with cow dung dotted around the pitch, going toe-to-toe with Vinny Jones on the Late  Late Show and helping his local club rise from the bottom tier of the West Cork League to eventual Beamish Cup glory.

Anyone who has ever laced a pair of boots on the side of the road and marched on to a muddy pitch (after a night on the beer) to represent  their local soccer club will forge an immediate connection with the stories and characters detailed in the book.

Anyone who has ever wondered what possesses a junior / amateur soccer player to continue playing well past their sell-by date will find out  the reasons why.

You have read all the various soccer titles telling you stuff you already know but this new book gives you a look at something different.

To win a copy of Off-Centre Circle, just email your worst  football experience to Closing date: November 25.

The best replies will be published on the site. Names will be withheld (if you want) to protect the guilty.

Off-Centre Circle is published by Thomas Crosbie Holdings / Evening Echo and will be available from the end of November in Easons and all good, fair and middling bookshops.

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