At the Ulster Senior League AGM tonight, secretary Niall Callaghan confirmed Belfast Celtic will not be joining the league.
With the withdrawal of Swilly Rovers towards the back end of last season, there are only six clubs currently competing in the county at the intermediate bracket – Cockhill Celtic, Letterkenny Rovers, Bonagee United, Finn Harps, Derry City and Fanad United.
Sports & Leisure Swifts, who now play in the Premier Intermediate League, will go under the Belfast Celtic Banner next season and made an application to the Ulster Senior League in April.
Belfast Celtic withdrew from the Irish League in 1949.
“We have been informed this morning that we cannot accept Belfast Celtic’s application to join our league,” Callaghan said in his end of season report. “The FAI and the IFA (Football Association of Ireland and the Irish Football Association) are working together on a number of projects and the FAI do not want to rock the boat.
“The IFA have stated that the reason for refusing the transfer down here is that they can provide Belfast Celtic football in their own jurisdiction.”
Callaghan did confirm that there are plans in place to meet two clubs that might bolster the league’s numbers.
“We are meeting two prospective clubs in the next week and hopefully we will have answers in due course,” he added. :On the downside we were reported to our provincial body for supposedly approaching teams in junior ranks, which was frustrating. Also a number of statements have been made in the media bout our lack of productivity in this area but I can assure you we are not sitting on our hands.”
Callaghan also stated that discussion to form an Ulster/Connacht Senior Cup are “very much in the pipeline.”
In March, Ulster Senior League representatives met with the now former CEO of the FAI John Delaney to voice their concerns over the lack of help coming out of Abbotstown.
“From that meeting we were told that the FAI were not willing to rock the boat and restructure football in Donegal,” Callaghan added. “So we are very much paddling our own canoe. Having met Donal Conway, the current President, this morning, he said that football in Ireland at the minute is very much a ‘patchwork quilt’ and following the latest governance report they will endeavour to change that.”Tags: