THE Irish Football Association has passed Melvin Park Arena as suitable to host premier intermediate football.
Announced by main proponents at Melvin, Strabane Athletic Football Club, the development has been summed up as ”fantastic news” for all associated with local sport.
Work on the new facilities began last August and the project involved a large scale upgrade of the facilities at Melvin Arena including a new covered stand for up to 200 people, entrance booths and turnstiles, changing facilities and toilet provision. The entire aim of the development was to bring the facility up to the required levels to meet the higher footballing standard.
“After a recent inspection by the Irish Football Association, Melvin Park Arena pitch has been passed to host premier intermediate football,” a statement from the club explained yesterday.
“This is fantastic news for the town and creates the opportunity for high profile games to be played on this pitch In the future. It will be a massive boost to ourselves and other clubs who have ambitions to play at the highest level.”
The statement concluded, “Strabane Athletic offers sincere thanks to our local councillors, council staff and anyone who helped to provide this exciting upgraded facility in our town.”
Welcoming the ratification from the Irish FA, Strabane independent councillor, Paul Gallagher believes this could be the beginning of a new era for local football.
“I’d like to welcome the fact that this has happened because it is a long time coming,” he said. “It has taken various campaigns and lots of people power to get it over the line. I’d like to thank the council officials that have brought this to completion. The next step is for Strabane Athletic to build another successful team that will now be able to play in the higher levels.
“The success of having this infrastructure should retain the talent that Strabane nurtures and we will hopefully be able to keep that talent in the town from now on.”