Serious GAA and soccer fall-out up north as Derry City are sent to Donegal
Derry City will play next season's SSE Airtricity League campaign, and cup games, in Donegal.
Maginn Park in Buncrana will play host to the Candystripes in 2017 while the Bradywell stadium is redeveloped in a multi-million pound project.
While City have publicly expressed their thanks to 'the management of Maginn for the welcome and the flexibility', there is consternation that the club could not be accommodated in Derry.
City chairman Philip O’Doherty, we understand, was keen for the club to use the 22,000 capacity GAA ground in the heart of Derry, Celtic Park - next door to the Brandywell.
He lobbied several prominent GAA clubs in the area to put a motion forward on City's behalf to the Derry GAA county convention.
His efforts proved unsuccessful and when Derry GAA did not make the proposal themselves, City were forced to look elsewhere. They will now play their games in the next county over at the 2,000-capacity Maginn Park.
Celtic Park, meanwhile, has some seasons played host to just four Derry senior football games over the course of a year. The stadium itself will host rugby matches in 2023 if Ireland gets the nod to host the World Cup, next year.
Naturally enough, Derry City being forced to move out of the county has caused a fissure among fans of different sporting persuasions. This is just a sample of the ire that has appeared online.
Why are Derry City playing in Donegal next season when Celtic Park is right beside them?
— Kevin Brannigan (@KevinBrannigans) December 8, 2016
Derry City, meanwhile, were attempting to remain upbeat. A statement on their website read:
'[We] are continuing to explore other options for later in the season but, failing any positive outcomes to those explorations, Maginn Park will facilitate the rest of the games.
'The only difficulty presented by the Buncrana venue is one of capacity. For the greater number of matches, the club believes that the capacity will meet the demand but they realise that in some matches, capacity will be limited...
'The club is also exploring ways of providing public transport to and from Buncrana for supporters who don’t drive or who prefer to go to matches with groups of friends.'
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