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Sub-heading: Arran face Dalry in mainland league debut
By Colin Smeeton
A new Arran team has been given the go-ahead to play in a mainland league.
The Isle of Arran Amateur Football Club (AAFC) have been accepted into the Ayrshire Sunday Amateur Football Association (ASAFA) league and have hit the ground running with their first fixture of the season.
It is believed to be the first time an Arran football team has played in a mainland league.
Following a concerted effort and well structured bid by organiser Alan Murray, a carefully deliberated decision was made last week at the ASAFA annual general meeting after consultation with the Scottish Amateur Football Association.
After allaying fears of travel implications and financial concerns regarding travel, the executive committee of ASAFA welcomed the Arran team into the league with the secretary noting: ‘Our Association were very impressed with your club’s presentation at the recent meeting and we were also very impressed with the overall ambition and enthusiasm shown.’
The only caveat, and one which necessitated an amendment to the ASAFA constitution, is that all of the official grounds have to be on the mainland, meaning that all games are away games unless an agreement is made between the clubs to visit Arran if they so wished. However a number of players and clubs on the mainland have already expressed a willingness to play matches on Arran.
With their strips on order – with sponsorship from Arran Energy Ltd, The Douglas Hotel and the Arran Butcher – players who have demonstrated their skills playing in the Arran Dairies League have already been signed up to play for the club.
And major boost for the club, golden boot and prolific goal scorer Archie McNicol has been released from his contract with Barrhead based Junior side Arthurlie and joined the Arran team.
Isle of Arran AFC will join Irvine No 1 CSC AFC, Dalry Tartan AFC, Irvine Victoria AFC and Killie United in Group C in the ASAFA league which starts on Sunday August 12.
The first official match, which is the ASAFA league qualifier, will take place tomorrow (Sunday) against Dalry Tartan at Putyan Park, Dalry. A coach will transport players, and supporters, to the game and back.
Organiser Alan Murray said: ‘We are absolutely delighted to be accepted into the ASAFA league. The Arran players are ready to compete and enjoy the league football games on the mainland and on our home turf at Ormidale Park.
‘I would like to thank all of our sponsors and everyone that has played a part in helping to establish and support the club. We are still looking to fill a few positions, such as match secretary, photographer and coaches, and would welcome anyone who feels that they could positively contribute to our club or join our committee.’
AAFC are already in talks with Killie United to host their first historic game on Arran, which if agreed upon, will take place at Ormidale Park on Sunday August 19, at 2 pm.
New signing Archie McNicol receives the Lady Jean Cup from Brodick Highland Games chairman Donald MacKelvie for the 100m race last weekend for the 10th consecutive year. Inset: His first win in 2009.
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