Galway FC will host promotion favourites Longford Town in the opening round of the Airtricity League First Division. 

The 2014 First Division campaign will kick-off on Friday, 7 March with three matches and the final game of Series One will take place on Saturday, 8 March.

Finn Harps, under new manager Ollie Horgan, will face Waterford United while Shelbourne, who were relegated from the Premier Division last season, begin the return journey to the top flight at Tolka Park against Wexford Youths. 

The 2014 season also sees Shamrock Rovers fielding a second team in the Airtricity League and they begin the campaign with an away game against Cobh Ramblers on 8 March.

Eight teams will play 28 games over a four-round campaign with the final series of games provisionally scheduled for Saturday, 11 October as it is dependent on the Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2016 fixture schedule.

Shamrock Rovers’ second team will not be eligible for promotion or the play-offs and will not be allowed to enter the EA SPORTS Cup or the FAI Ford Cup

At the end of the season, one team will be automatically promoted to the Premier Division and the next two qualifying sides will take part in a two-legged play-off for the right to play the 11th placed team in the Premier Division for a place in the top flight for the 2015 season.

Galway boss Tommy Dunne said: “It is a very tough start for us there is no doubt about that. In the first three weeks we have Longford Town, Waterford United, and Shamrock Rovers.

“They will all be extremely tough matches. Longford are after signing some fantastic players. It is nice to be at home and there should be a bit of interest in the game – that is good – but from a footballing point of view it will be difficult.

“Overall, though, the Division is stronger than it has been for a few seasons in my opinion and that will mean the matches will be very competitive from the start.

“Our aim is to start the season well and we have a lot of work to do between now and then. Straight away we will be meeting the top teams in the Division, but we are looking forward to it.”

The opening weekend’s First Division fixtures are:

Friday, 7 March

Galway FC v Longford Town, Eamonn Deacy Park, 7.45 pm

Finn Harps v Waterford United, Finn Park, 8pm

Shelbourne v Wexford Youths, Tolka Park, 8pm

Saturday, 8 March 

Cobh Ramblers v Shamrock Rovers, St. Colman’s Park, 7.45pm

The complete Airtricity League 2014 First Division fixture list is available at