The eircom League has invited Kildare County Football Club to replace St Francis and the club could be competing in the First Division when the new season begins in early July. The decision comes following months of scrutiny by League officials in the wake of St Francis' retirement from the League last summer, and the club are expected to accept the invitation at the League's AGM in April.

Kildare County FC will operate as a separate legal entity and will play its home matches in Newbridge at the current ground of Newbridge Town FC. Kildare is one of the fastest growing counties in the country with a population of close to 150,000, and until now has been the largest county without a representative club in the eircom League.

Twelve clubs around the country were originally contacted to establish whether they had an interest in joining the League, and following interviews with five clubs, two (Kildare County and Mullingar Town) presented detailed business plans to the League. While selecting Kildare County, the League paid compliment to Mullingar Town on an excellent proposal and wished the club well with its continued participation in the eircom Under-21 League, while also advancing its detailed development plans with a view to full League membership before long.

Filed by Shane Murray