Evergreen Beginnings by Paddy O Brien
“Bill (Savy) Walsh was standing at the Crystal Corner one night as Johnny Fox passed by. He stopped and asked Savy would they put in a team in the Kilkenny Soccer League which was just starting up. He said they would and that is how Evergreen was formed.”
“Savy and the lads used to stand at the corner and they made up this song to the air of “There is a Tree in the Meadow“
“There is a team in the City,
They call it Evergreen,
They are the finest bunch of guys,
That you have ever seen,”
“They are always together,
as you go passing by,
and you can always hear them sing this song,
Come On Evergreen,
till I die.”
“I always remember the day Evergreen won their first title. I was in hospital and I watched the lads go to the Freshford Road field to play. About two hours later I knew they had won it by the spring in their step and Seamus Bergin swinging the jersey bag as they passed by.”
Paddy O Brien
The Schoolboy section of Evergreen FC caters for nearly 400 children, both boys and girls, ranging from 6 – 16 years of age. The club also runs a very successful Saturday School during the season in The Watershed, Kilkenny. It caters from children from 6 – 8 years of age. The emphasis is on fun and enjoyment while also learning the basic skills of soccer.
The U9 and U10 teams are based in Larchfield, Kilkenny. There are two teams from each of these age groups. The matches for children at this level are seven versus seven and are non competitive. The emphasis is on enjoyment and inclusion for all while also learning the skills and developing as players.
The U11 and U12 teams also play there football at Larchfield. It is at these age groups that soccer starts to be be played at a competitive level with properly structured leagues and cup competitions run by the Kilkenny District League as well as National Cups.
Children from 13 – 16 years of age play their football in Evergreen Park. Located on the Kells Road three miles from the city, the park is also home to youths and adult men’s teams. Evergreen Park currently has four full size pitches. There are plans for further development with a dressing room complex, gymnasium and an astro turf pitch earmarked for the future.
Evergreen has produced some excellent players down though the years. Many have had great success with the adult teams, winning every local honour with the club. Some of these players have also represented Ireland at Junior Level. Numerous players have progressed from Evergreen to play League of Ireland. David and Joey Mulcahy, Packie Holden, Billy Brennan, Mark and Neil Andrews and the Walsh Brothers – Michael, Billy and Ollie will be familiar names to followers of the game at senior level in this country.
Evergreen have also had several young players travel over to England to play their football in the professional leagues. The latest of these are Mikey Drennan who is with Aston Villa and Seani Maguire with West Ham. Others of note are Jimmy Keohane and Gavin Holohan.