Sporting Fingal reach the end of the road

FOLLOWING the cancelling of their players’ contracts on Wednesday, Sporting Fingal confirmed the inevitable last night when the club ceased trading and withdrew its licence application to the Airtricity League for the 2011 season.

Having been backed financially, to the tune of some €2 million, by developer Gerry Gannon, who is now in NAMA, up until the end of last season, the club failed to secure a new benefactor while a sponsorship deal subsequently fell through last week.

“This regrettable decision was taken after funding targets integral to the club’s continued existence were not reached during the off-season,” a club statement said.

It’s a very sad ending for the club which was officially launched three years ago today. They won the FAI Ford Cup in 2009 while also gaining promotion via the play-offs, and then played in the Europa League last summer. Manager Liam Buckley, who set up the whole project in conjunction with Fingal County Council, was naturally distraught at its collapse.

“I am devastated for all involved with Sporting Fingal — players, staff, fans, volunteers, directors — that we have been forced to bring the Sporting Fingal project to a premature end,’’ he said.

“Finding a replacement for our supportive backer was always going to be a major challenge but we were pleased with the progress made.

“Sadly, the suddenness and timing of last week’s sponsorship set-back sent us back to the drawing board, a predicament we were simply unable to overcome so close to the season kick-off.

“Our success on the pitch was testament to the dedication and resilience of the players.”

Who replaces Sporting Fingal in the 2011 Premier Division can’t be decided until the Independent Licensing Committee meets on Sunday.

Provided they receive a Premier Division license, relegated Drogheda United will have first refusal, Airtricity League director Fran Gavin confirmed last night.

“It’s very disappointing from a human point of view for the players and their families and Liam Buckley who’s put five years of his life into this project, and three years which were very successful,’’ Gavin said.

UCD will take Sporting’s place in the Setanta Sports Cup while St Patrick’s Athletic are likely to be offered their UEFA Europa League spot.

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