Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Clandeboye set to sparkle as Bangor look to the future

Things are looking up for Bangor both on an off the field.

New manager Paul Millar has brought an extra dimension to the club's hopes for silverware this season and on Saturday they bid for a place in the Co. Antrim Steel Cup semi-finals at the expense of Newington YC.

But it's the development front that will dictate the club's future next season.

The club have sold part of their ground for a substantial sum which will release vital funds to upgrade Clandeboye.

Their aim is to get a local club licence that would put them in the frame for a place in the new Irish Premier League, now that the points system introduced recently, has had to be amended.

All clubs interested in a place have been asked to re-apply but the key factor is the local licence. Without that, everything else is irrelevant.

No club will be allowed to participate in the new senior league without that licence and therefore any renewed grading structure should only apply if there are more than 12 potential senior clubs with such a licence.

Loughgall, Bangor and Ards because of ground share, are the only other intermediate clubs with a realistic chance of reaching the top grade at this time but neither should have any worries about being in the new Premier Intermediate League which is decided on ground criteria only.

Bangor's new found fortune will come about subject to planing permission but chairman Trevor Best foresees no problem in this area.

"The previous agreement with Eastonville Traders has come to nothing because of planning problems and that company have received their original deposit of £300,000 plus interest.

"Others who helped raise money - less than £100,000 - through the Enterprise Investment Scheme to help the club, will be paid back in full.

"We will be applying for grants through the IFA and hopefully can get a letter to proceed with plans as soon as possible.

"There will be no problem qualifying for the PIL and hopefully we will be in a position to put our case for a senior place," added Trevor.

Meanwhile, Millar is without two cup-tied players for the match on Saturday, namely James Bell and Ross McMullan but will still be expected to come through, having been unbeaten in their last 12 matches.

The tie of the round is the repeat of last year's final between holders Brantwood and H & W Welders.

Welders are favourites to take revenge and clinch a place in the last four for the third year in a row.

Ballyclare Comrades should take care of Wakehurst at the Showgrounds while Dundela can edge out Dromara Village for the fourth spot.