BALLYCASTLE UNITED - town's teams unite to form one club
BALLYCASTLE United and Moyle FC last night agreed an historic merger which will see one team represent the town from next season.
Representatives from both clubs met after months of negotiations behind the scenes.
The name of the unified side will be Ballycastle United Football Club.
The decision to amalgamate was unanimously supported at last night's annual general meeting of Ballycastle United which had been brought forward to facilitate the move.
New chair of the club, Billy Watson, said he believed the venture would help put Ballycastle "back on the football map".
"This is a new departure for football in Ballycastle and wider Moyle area, and we hope it will put Ballycastle back on the football map," he said.
"Combining our capabilities makes complete sense as it will help us release our resources to support youth football, and in particular, to find our players of the future.
"The development follows the creation of the youth structure in the club, where under-10 and under-16 football, are now at an advanced stage of development. Our under-16 team, for example, had a good win against an experienced side only on Saturday, and we expect to formally unveil the under-10 structure in the next few weeks.
"This merger was carried through with the minimum of fuss. We have combined the best of both clubs, both off and on the pitch. This will represent a stronger face of football in our town and we have received much encouragement from many, including from within the business community, who have been very responsive in their support for football in the past.
"By combining our clubs, and putting in place a 15-strong committee to drive forward our development plan over the next few years, we believe we can develop a strong identity for the club, and for the town.
"At this juncture we are encouraging parents to play an active part and work with us in partnership to advance football in the Ballycastle area.
"In particular, any parent interested in helping develop football will find a committee and club willing to make them welcome, and we will move with them to provide football in new under-age groups."
A new badge has been designed which marks the coming together of the sides.
The crest will be the same as Moyle FC's only with Ballycastle United Football Club printed on it.
The side will ply its trade in the Ballymena Intermediate League with Ballycastle United Reserves playing in the Coleraine and District League.
A management team was elected for next season at last night's meeting, with Moyle FC's manager Bob Kane getting the nod to take over the new-look United.
He said he was confident Ballycastle United could make big strides on both league and cup fronts under the new system.
"Having one team representing the area will be of massive benefit to Ballycastle," he said.
The club encourages everyone to visit their website at www.ballycastleunited.com, where they will post additional news on under-age football, including information on the kids' tournament being planned to coincide with their Open Day on 31st July.