As Finn Harps’ negotiations with Ollie Horgan on the renewal of his deal at the club continues, the Football Association of Ireland have confirmed the format of the 2018 season.
Harps, relegated this season after two years in the Premier Division, are back in the First Division for 2018.
Harps remain locked in talks with Horgan, but club sources have hinted that an announcement could be made in the coming days to confirm that the manager is to remain at the club.
Horgan attended Letterkenny Rovers’ FAI Intermediate Cup game against Midleton last Sunday and was also at Cockhill Celtic’s clash with Swords Celtic later in the afternoon as he remains actively on the hunt for new blood.
Horgan and Harps have been attempting to thrash out an agreement in recent weeks, but a number of points have yet to be agreed upon by the relevant parties.
The First Division season will begin on Friday, February 23 and the FAI have announced that the second, third and fourth-placed teams will all enter a play-off stage at the end of the season.
The team which finishes fourth will play the team which finishes third and the winner of that tie will face the team which finishes second.
The winner of that tie will then play the team which finishes ninth in the Premier Division in the final promotion/relegation play-off, with all play-offs played over two legs.
The champions of the First Division will be guaranteed automatic promotion to the Premier Division where they will replace the team which finishes 10th in the top tier.
The mid-season break will take place from Saturday, June 16th to Thursday, June 28th and there are no midweek league fixtures scheduled in the First Division.
The 2018 SSE Airtricity League Fixture List will be released at 12 noon on Tuesday, December 19th.
Although the situation had remained up in the air since the end of the campaign, club sources now say that agreement is close and that Horgan is expected to lead Harps into what would be his fifth season in the role.
It is also known that former Harps player Martin Lauchlan has sounded Harps out and expressed his wish to step in were a vacancy to arise. Lauchlan – who has been making a real name for himself in his native Scotland as a manager – has spoken to prominent people at Harps within the last week.
Harps confirmed KN Group as the club’s new main sponsor last week and while Horgan has been keeping his cards close to his chest, but it is believed that the club and the St Eunan’s College schoolteacher are poised to make an announcement soon.Tags: