Belfast Telegraph

Irish League football returning to Brandywell - Institute confirm home ground

By Gareth Hanna

Newly-promoted Institute will play their home games at Derry City's Brandywell Stadium next season.

The club are without a usable ground after their Riverside Stadium in Drumahoe was gutted by flooding last August.

Stute went on to win the Bluefin Sport Championship last season and had announced their intentions to play home games at Glentoran's ground, the Oval in Belfast, if an alternative solution could not be found in the north west.

That would have meant a 138 mile round journey to home matches but the club have now confirmed an agreement to stage their games just a few miles across the River Foyle at Derry City's historic home ground.

Irish League football has not been played at the Brandywell since 1971 when City were forced to shift their home games to the Coleraine Showgrounds in the interests of safety. The club then withdrew from the league in 1972 and later joined the League of Ireland in 1985.

Irish League clubs including Linfield and Glentoran have played at the Brandywell in recent years in the now defunct Setanta Cup.

The Brandywell Stadium was reopened in February after a multi-million pound redevelopment that includes a synthetic pitch, a new 955 seater stand and accommodation that takes spectator capacity up to around 3,700.

"Following confirmation from Institute, the club have confirmed that they will be playing at the Brandywell Stadium for the 2018/2019 season," confirmed a NI Football League statement on Tuesday morning.

"Final written confirmation was provided by Derry & Strabane District Council last week, which will allow Institute the appropriate licence to play all home games at the venue on their return to the Danske Bank Premiership."

Institute begin their Danske Bank Premiership season against Newry City at the Brandywell on Saturday August 4.

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