All three Championship 1 promotion hopefuls have been granted a Championship license ahead of next season, ensuring they can play in the top flight next season should they achieve promotion. This guarantees that the league winners will achieve automatic promotion and the runners-up are guaranteed a promotion/relegation play-off with Warrenpoint Town.
Carrick Rangers, Bangor and Ards were among the six sides to achieve the license from the second tier, and whilst it is currently only necessary for sides wishing to compete in the top flight there are plans to make it mandatory for any side wishing to compete in the top tiers from 2016/17 onwards.
As things stand, Carrick will have to play their matches next season in the top flight – assuming they achieve promotion – at Seaview, home of Crusaders.
However, the club are working together with the council to ensure the necessary upgrades are made to their permanent home of Taylor’s Avenue. The club played all their home games at Seaview in their last season as a Premiership club back in 2011/12.
Carrick currently lead the Championship 1 table, and will gain promotion should they defeat Dundela at Taylor’s Avenue tomorrow afternoon, while Bangor currently lie second with Ards two points behind going into the final round. Niall Currie’s side still harbour outside hopes of a play-off place while Bangor could yet win automatic promotion should Carrick stumble.
The other three Championship 1 clubs to successfully apply where Ballyclare Comrades, Larne and Lisburn Distillery, while Dergview, Dollingstown, Donegal Celtic, H&W Welders and Knockbreda were unsuccessful with their applications – though all are hopeful they will be up to scratch for this time next year.
All twelve current Premiership clubs were successful in their re-applications for their domestic licenses, while Warrenpoint, Dungannon Swifts and Institute were the only sides not to achieve UEFA licenses – necessary for competing in European competition.