Cork City will host defending champions St Patrick’s Athletic in their opening game of the new Airtricity League Premier Division season on Friday March 7.
But, as the 2014 fixture list for the top flight was being released yesterday, there was also news of a blow to Cork’s own plans for the campaign ahead, with confirmation that Daryl Horgan has signed for Dundalk.
Said the talented Horgan, who had been a fans’ favourite at Turner’s Cross: “(Dundalk manager) Stephen Kenny was no doubt the deciding factor in the move. I met with him and when he spoke to me I was highly impressed with what he had to say and I knew he wanted me.
“It wasn’t just that, but the style of play that Dundalk played last year under Stephen was something that really appealed to me. It fits my game.
“You just have to look at what the club achieved last year and that spoke volumes to me. It’s a good place to be.”
Although the First Division fixture list will not be released until the New Year, the FAI announced yesterday that it has agreed to allow Shamrock Rovers to field a ‘B’ team in the second tier next season.
Following the decision of Mervue United and Salthill Devon to withdraw from the First Division in favour of a new Galway entity, the association had sought expressions of interest and received several applications.
The decision to allow the Tallaght side field a second team in the Airtricity League is subject to certain restrictions, among them that the First Division team will not be eligible for promotion or play-offs; the First Division team will not be allowed to enter the EA SPORTS Cup or the FAI Ford Cup; and Shamrock Rovers will be permitted to play a maximum of three outfield players and a goalkeeper from their Premier Division squad in First Division fixtures.
Fran Gavin, Director of the Airtricity League said: “This is the first time that we have allowed a club to field a second team in a lower division of the League. However, it is not unusual in a European context as this is the norm in countries such as Spain, Germany, France, Norway, Holland, Switzerland and Portugal. It was an idea that came from the club and once they embraced the parameters we required them to operate within, we approved the application.”
Subject to all clubs receiving licences, the 2014 First Division will consist of eight clubs: Cobh Ramblers, Finn Harps, Galway, Longford Town, Shamrock Rovers, Shelbourne, Waterford United and Wexford Youths.
Meanwhile, Rovers will continue to field a team in the Airtricity U19 League.
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