FOOTBALL: Larne’s home blow

Fans at Inver Park. Pic by Pacemaker.
Fans at Inver Park. Pic by Pacemaker.

Larne officials must kick off the Bluefin Sport Championship season against Portadown at Taylor’s Avenue following a ground switch due to “ongoing works” at Inver Park.

The fixture list handed Larne home advantage but issues including the lack of a Safety Certificate for Inver Park ahead of the opening date on August 12 have forced the club to seek an alternative venue.

Confirmation on the Larne official website highlighted how “unfortunately, due to the ongoing works at Inver Park it has become necessary to switch our opening game of the Bluefin Sport Championship season against Portadown to Taylor’s Avenue, Carrickfergus”.

The statement continued: “It has not proved possible to complete the works to our home ground and for a Safety Certificate to be issued in time for our season opener on Saturday 12 August.

“We would like to thank Carrick Rangers for their co-operation in making their facilities available.

“Further updates will appear on our club website as more news becomes available.

“As we must play our opening home game of the season away from Inver Park, we would appeal to all supporters to give the club their support and make the short trip to Carrickfergus.”

A recent statement via the club’s website offered an insight, including how the decision was made to “re-negotiate our lease with Mid and East Antrim Council whereby they take over the maintenance of Inver Park and we rent it from them”.

“Over the years, it has been extremely difficult to secure funding to upgrade the facilities at Inver Park, with a number of funding streams unavailable to the club,” it stated on July 21. “Larne Football Club has endeavoured to do all it could to improve facilities and this has included the excellent contributions from our supporters.

“However, without significant investment, it was becoming harder, as a Designated Club, to meet the safety and infrastructure standards required to play in Championship or indeed the Premiership.”