It is increasingly likely that Donegal will be hosting two League of Ireland Premier Division teams next season.
While Finn Harps will again play top flight football at Finn Park, Ballybofey, it is now almost certain that Derry City will play their 2017 home games at Maginn Park in Buncrana.
Celtic Park, the home of Derry GAA, next to Brandywell Stadium, has been ruled out as an option.
There had been ambitious hopes that Derry GAA could throw open Celtic Park’s doors, but it would have required the backing of the Derry county convention and there are no motions on the matter to go before that meeting.
Brandywell’s big redevelopment means that the venue will be closed for action next season and homeless Derry are now expected to pitch up home at Maginn Park.
While the work at the Brandywell had been expected to begin before the end of the 2016 season, an agreement was in place for Derry to use Maginn for the final six games of the campaign.
However, the work was delayed at Derry were able to play their home fixtures in the Brandywell.
The Glentoran Stand has already been demolished and a new spectator stand is to be erected in its place on the Lonemoor Road side of the ground, while a new artificial pitch is to be installed at the Foyleside venue.
Officials from Derry are set to sit down again with Inishowen League officials.
Some upgrades works would still be required at Maginn, but it is understood that these are not prohibitive.
Indeed, it is believed that Derry are to install seats in the stand at Maginn Park, which would then stay permanently at the venue.
Other works that had been earmarked as essential last year included extra lighting in the main stand, the erection of emergency lighting at exits, toilets and in the stand, the provision of portable toilets and the segregation of away supporters.
It is likely that Maginn’s capacity would have to be capped.
While some upgrade works would be required to bring Maginn into line with FAI Licencing criteria, it is not believed that they would be substantial, given that it played host to the EA Sports Cup meeting of Cockhill Celtic and Sligo Rovers in 2011, when almost 2,000 supporters attended.
Derry will play in the Europa League next summer, but will still have to find an alternative home venue for their European fixtures, although it seems as if the Red and White Army will call Buncrana ‘home’ for their domestic games next year.Tags: