PLANS by Moyola Park Football Club to build a new £1.5 million stadium are back in play after a lengthy battle with planners.
The First Division outfit are currently in talks with Moyola estate trustees to agree a lease in respect of the site at Mill Meadow in Castledawson.
The papers are expected to be finalised in the near future and will clear the way for a grant application to the Sports Council.
Work could start on the stadium later this year - providing there are no further delays.
"We are quietly confident that things will now fall in to place and we can get on with the project, " said club chairman Robin Martin this week.
"The site requires a lot of work and the pitch will have to sit for at least a year so we are looking at 2009 before it can be used for matches."
Mill Meadow - possibly the new name for the club's ground - is about a ball kick from the club's present facilities in Moyola park.
In addition to a new pitch the project includes a 200-seater stand, six turnstiles, floodlighting, modern changing accommodation block, a floodlit fourth generation artificial turf training area, car parking and perimeter fence.
The new stadium will make Moyola Park one of the most progressive small clubs in the Provinces and enable it to promote football at grassroods level in the Magherafelt district.
"The facilities will be for the entire community," stressed Martin. "It is not just for our first team. We have a reserve team at the top of their league as well as a thriving youth section and hope to have a ladies team up and running this year."
He said local schools and youth clubs could also make use of the stadium.
As well as applying to the Sports Council, the club will also be asking the local community to support the development which they consider as having benefits for the entire South Derry area.
The legendary Liverpool left back Alan Kennedy has been snapped up to speak at a fund raising corporate dinner in Walsh's Hotel, Maghera, on March 24.
Tables for ten cost £400 and should be booked as soon as possible through contacting Robin direct on 07723341323, or any club committee member.
Kennedy assured an enduring niche in football history as the only British player to score winning goals in two European Cup finals. His first was the only one of Liverpool's 1981 meeting with Real Madrid in Paris. Three years later it was his spot kick in the penalty shoot out against Roma that brought the prestigious trophy to Anfield for a fourth time.