Harps get their house in order

Harps get their house in order

A major refurbishment of the dressing room area and a new control room for match-night stewards, are among the improvements planned for Finn Park ahead of the new season.

Supporters who attended Tuesday night's public meeting in Letterkenny, were given an insight into some of the necessary works that are being carried out.

FAI officials inspected the ground in the days after Harps secured promotion and since then the club has been following the guidelines set out in the FAI's Stadium Infrastucture Criteria document.

An independent assessment was also carried out after which a 'snag list' was put together covering a host of jobs and improvements that have been highlighted within the ground.

Work on the new dressing room area is well underway and the new design will incorporate a separate area for women referees.

Improvements are also being carried out to the dressing room showers which have caused embarrassing problems for the club in recent seasons.

Trevor Gordon, Infrastructure Co-ordinator, gave a detailed presentation on the various improvements which are needed in order to secure a Premier Division licence.

Work is also to be carried out to the press gantry as well as the floodlights and emergency lighting system.

New crush barriers are to be introduced on the terrace behind the town-end goals which will allow for an increase in the overall ground capacity.

Mr. Gordon said 600 extra tickets will now be made available for the Derry City match which is expected to draw a capacity crowd of 4,500.

A special Volunteer Day is planned for Sunday, February 21st on which supporters will be invited to spend the day helping with a general tidy-up at Finn Park.

Details of a new partnership with Micad Security were also announced. The Letterkenny firm helped oversee the match security on the night Harps defeated Limerick in the promotion play-off second leg. They are now on board for the new season during which it is expected attendances will be significantly higher than they have been for several years.

Reference was also made to other off-field activities including the online marketing of Harps and the match programme which remains one of the leading publications within the league.

A presentation was also made by John Cambpell who helps lead up the club's Schools and Community Programme.

Joe Boyle, the Finn Harps U-19 manager, and Trevor Scanlon of the Harps Academy, spoke about the work and progress being made at underage level.

Nine of the current U-19s squad are also signed with the first team this season. Their campaign begins on March 13th with the new season for the U-17s underway a week later.