Belfast Telegraph

Sport & Leisure Swifts relegated out of NI Football League ahead of Belfast Celtic name change

Sport & Leisure Swifts manager Packie McAllister at the club's Glen Road Heights ground.
Sport & Leisure Swifts manager Packie McAllister at the club's Glen Road Heights ground.

Sport & Leisure Swifts have been relegated out of the Northern Ireland Football League ahead of changing their name to Belfast Celtic this summer.

While their game at home to Lisburn Distillery was postponed on Saturday afternoon, wins for Dollingstown and Armagh City, over Newington and Annagh United respectively, sealed the west Belfast side's fate.

The Swifts recently indicated that the club was remaining open to the prospect of a move to the League of Ireland.

The decision to change the name of the club, taken at an AGM last summer and approved by the IFA in January, proved contentious, with the Belfast City Society and existing club Belfast Celtic Young Men both expressing concern.

The Belfast Celtic Society have stressed that there are no links between the new venture and the original Belfast Celtic team, which was dissolved in 1949 having won 14 Irish League titles and eight Irish Cups.

Read more: Belfast Celtic Society deny links and explain concerns over Sport & Leisure Swifts renaming

In a subsequent statement, S&L claimed early discussions with the Society had been 'very positive' and stressed their disappointment that their own optimism over the move was not shared by the group, which was set up to 'protect and preserve' the history of the original Belfast Celtic.

"Our club have not entered this process with opportunism and exploitation in mind, rather we see it as a chance to encourage the growth of Senior Football in the west of the city and to develop talent and encourage a better view of our area from people who reside outside of West Belfast," said Sport and Leisure Swifts.

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