League of Ireland football for Mayo?

Gerry Knight, Ballina Town,  is presented with the Henry Downes Service to Football award  by John Delaney CEO of FAI at the Mayo Football League Annual Presentation Dinner and Awards night in The Welcome Inn Hotel Castlebar  Photo: Michael Donnelly

Gerry Knight, Ballina Town, is presented with the Henry Downes Service to Football award by John Delaney CEO of FAI at the Mayo Football League Annual Presentation Dinner and Awards night in The Welcome Inn Hotel Castlebar Photo: Michael Donnelly

The possibility of having a Mayo League team in action in the League of Ireland in the next few years is one of the major aims of the new five year plan for the league that was launched last Saturday. The plan's executive summary outlined the steps to such a possability happening, stating: "We want to provide a pathway for our elite players and coaches to progress to the top of the domestic game. The Mayo Football League believes that a Mayo representative team should play in the SSE Airtricity U17 League by 2017, the U19 League by 2019, and shortly afterwards the Mayo Football League will apply to join the First Division of SSE Airtricity League."

Other ideas put forward in the plan included the launching of a Western Champions Cup to be played between the winners of the Mayo, Roscommon, Galway and Sligo-Leitrim League over the the August weekend. The plan also said they hoped to invite three League of Ireland clubs to take part in a weekend competition against Mayo prior to the start of the League of Ireland season. The plan was launched by FAI chief executive John Delaney at the Mayo League's annual awards night last weekend.

League of Ireland clubs coming to Mayo for friendlies

Both Ballina Town and Charlestown Athletic will be hosting League of Ireland sides in pre-season friendlies tomorrow. Ballina Town will host Finn Harps tomorrow at 2pm in Belleek Park, Ballina. Ballina Town, who finished in second place in the Super League last season, will be using the game as a major test ahead of their quest for Connacht Cup glory in the coming weeks as well as beginning their Super League challenge in late March. Admission is €5 on the day.

At the same time, Charlestown Athletic will be hosting League of Ireland Premier Division side Sligo Rovers in Bellaghy Park, Charlestown. Club chairperson Miriam McGowan said: “This is an exciting friendly as part of our 25th anniversary celebrations and there is no bigger game to draw the local support than this tie and everyone in the club is looking forward to this match and the build up in Charlestown generally is phenomenal.” She added: “The players are looking forward to playing against one of the top sides in the country and they are looking forward to give a great account of themselves against good quality players that have won all the top honours that could be won in the game." Admission is €5 for adults and free for u16s.

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