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SSE Airtricity League release new promotion/relegation format for 2018 campaign

The league restructure means the Premier Division and First Division will both be made up of 10 teams next season.

The Cork City players after winning the Premier Division last month.
The Cork City players after winning the Premier Division last month.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

THE SSE AIRTRICITY League has confirmed details of the next season’s format and several important dates today.

This year saw three clubs relegated from the Premier Division — Drogheda United, Finn Harps, Galway United — and just one promoted from the second tier — Waterford — in order to facilitate the restructure to two 10-team divisions.

For the 2018 campaign, the First Division champions will once again earn automatic promotion and swap places with the side that finishes last in the top flight.

The second, third and fourth-placed First Division clubs will then take part in a series of two-legged promotion/relegation play-offs — with the winner of fourth versus third meeting second. Whoever prevails from that will book a spot in the play-off final against the Premier Division’s ninth-placed team.

Double-winners Cork City and runners-up Dundalk kick off the campaign in the President’s Cup on Sunday, 11 February, at Oriel Park.

The Premier Division then begins on Friday, 16 February, with the First Division getting underway a week later on Friday, 23 February.

A mid-season break takes place from Saturday, 16 June to Thursday, 28 June, the FAI Cup final is scheduled for Sunday, 4 November, while the EA Sports Cup final will be staged on Saturday, 15 September.

League of Ireland clubs start their European campaigns on the week beginning Monday, 9 July, and a full league fixture list will be released on Tuesday, 19 December.

The42 has just published its first book, Behind The Lines, a collection of some of the year’s best sports stories. Pick up your copy in Eason’s, or order it here today (€10):

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Ben Blake

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