KENNY SHIELS has slammed the FAI fixtures secretary for refusing a request from Derry City Football Club to grant a home match against Finn Harps in the opening round of games before work on Brandywell Stadium begins.
A derby clash with Harps would be expected to generate a bumper gate for the club and scheduled work on the stadium later in the year will, no doubt, limit the crowd capacity for the game.
Instead the ‘Candy Stripes’ face an opening day trip to Finn Park on March 4th and won’t host the Ballybofey club until May. They meet Ollie Horgan’s men for a third time at Finn Park on August 12th.
Following the release of the 2016 Airtricity Premier Division fixture list yesterday, Derry City is expected to make approaches to Finn Harps and the FAI in the hope of having those fixtures reversed.
However, Shiels described the fixture schedule as a ‘kick in the teeth’ for the club and accused the FAI of lacking compassion.
“I thought the FAI would have offered us some support this year after we faced long overnight trips to Cork twice and Limerick twice last season,” said Shiels.
We had hoped to play Finn Harps at home in April or March when our facility would be totally intact and it would lend itself to a good atmosphere. So I’m really, really disappointed in the FAI.Kenny Shiels
“We had hoped to play Finn Harps at home in April or March when our facility would be totally intact and it would lend itself to a good atmosphere. So I’m really, really disappointed in the FAI.
“We’re trying to improve the upkeep of our club and facilities and therefore I asked the FAI if we could have a home game against Finn Harps in March or April to give us the opportunity to house that at the Brandywell.
“Because of our circumstances, the ground could be under repair later in the season and that request was ignored.
“I don’t want to sound like I’m griping but I want to make sure we start the season in a positive mind.”
Hugh Harkin appointed
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