A sports capital grant of €211,674 to Sligo Rovers has been welcomed as a crucial next step in the club's plans for the Showgrounds stadium.

The vision of the plan is a new 6,000 stadium to achieve all the requirements of a UEFA Category 3 stadium designation.

The club says the grant for redevelopment work in the Showgrounds will allow phase 1 of its plan, which includes new floodlights and other ground improvements, to begin.

This week, Sligo Rovers invested €100,000 of the club’s funds in a planning process and will spend a further six-figure sum later in the year to bring the project forward with the support of the club’s fans and members through its fundraising mechanisms.

Sligo Rovers chairman Tommy Higgins said: "It’s very heartening for a community-owned club to have practical encouragement as we strive to create the facilities the region deserves.

"There is no time to waste and we will bring forward the next phase of our plan as soon as possible. We want to develop more international footballers in our academy, male and female, and have our facilities utilise the incredible talent in a huge catchment north-west area while we generate increased revenue to invest more in trying to achieve our overall target."