CELTIC Swifts, one of the longest serving and, indeed, most successful teams in the Derry & District Football Association, have withdrawn from the local league.
The decision of the club was relayed to last Monday night’s meeting and Swifts’ withdrawal signals the end of an era for the popular Bogside club.
Managed by George Harkin since 1991, it’s understood Swifts struggled to get players prepared to play on Sunday mornings.
And while so many other clubs are experiencing similar difficulties, Swifts also had probems in getting individuals to manage the team.
“It’s been very difficult to keep things going with work commitments also creating problems for potential managers and players,” said a Swifts source.
“But it’s a sad day for all those who had been associated with the club which dates back to the 1960’s.
“In days gone-by Swifts commanded so much support in the Bogside area where it was formed, but so much has changed since then.
“There are too many other attractions these days and the club basically failed to function,” he concluded.
The Derry & District F.A. Games organiser, Liam Smyth, extended the Association’s thanks to the club for their loyalty and co-operation down through the years and he sincerely hoped that in the not too distant future, Celtic Swifts would return to again compete in the Derry & District Football Association.
Meanwhile, another meeting will be staged this Monday night, August 13th, in the A.O.H. Clubrooms, Foyle Street, at 7.30 p.m. sharp.
At the meeting all teams will be provided with a list of all managers and their contact numbers.
To date, only two teams have registered their players and all managers have been advised to have all signed players registered at this Monday night’s meeting as the season is scheduled to kick-off on Sunday, August 19th at 11.30 a.m.
Everyone associated with the Derry & District Football Association wish to express their condolences to Lawrence Mullan (Lisahally) and the Mullan family following the death of their mother.
May she rest in peace.
Opening Day Fixtures
Premier Division - Top of the Hill Celtic v. Trojans, Lisnagelvin No. 2; Lisahally v. Abercorn, Strathfoyle; Don Bosco’s v. Porter’s, St. Columb’s No. 3; Brandywell Harps v. The Park Bar, Brandywell Showgrounds and Oxford United Stars v. Tristar, Swilly Stadium.
Culmore will have a free week following the untimely, yet unfortunate withdrawal of Celtic Swifts.
Premier Division champions, Top of the Hill, will be attempting to win their fourth title on the spin but the Waterside men are unlikely to have things all their own way this season.
Last season’s runners-up, Park Bar, are reported to have assembled a strong squad and will push Top of the Hill all the way to the title.
Porter’s, Tristar, Don Bosco’s and Brandywell Harps are sure to remain in contention while Abercorn and Lisahally are expected to continue their rebuilding processes but still give a good account of themselves.
Trojans will look to improve on last season’s form while the newly promoted teams, Oxford United Stars and Culmore, will be hopint to establish themselves in the top flight.
“Candy Stripes” Make
Division one Fixtures - Phoenix v. Strand United, Prehen No. 1; Campbell’s v. Maydown, Lisnagelvin No. 4; City Herald v. Derry City, St. Columb’s No. 2; Ballymoor v. The Bentley, Templemore Central; Killea Nixon’s Corner v. Telstar, Killea and A.O.H. Harps v. Crescent, Prehen No. 3.
With Derry City having returned they are sure to provide tough opposition for all those competing in the First Division and, no doubt, will be considered favourites to win the title and secure promotion.
Campbell’s will be hoping to be more consistent during the new campaign as will Phoenix, Strand United and Crescent.
A.O.H., Bentley and Ballymoor should improve while Maydown will attempt to finish in the top half of the division.
Newcomers, Killea-Nixon’s Corner, Telstar and City Herald should give a good account of themselves but they may require time to adapt in this division.