IRISH LEAGUE: Dungannon’s drive to ‘give something back to fans’ with home deal

Dungannon Swifts fans during the Irish Cup semi-final. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Dungannon Swifts fans during the Irish Cup semi-final. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Dungannon Swifts chairman Keith Boyd has described the club’s cut-price entry fees for the final two games of the campaign as a chance to “give something back to fans”.

The Swifts face Carrick Rangers this weekend then wrap up the season on Saturday, April 29 with a derby date at home to Portadown.

With two games at Stangmore Park, Swifts officials have slashed the entry fee to £5 for each remaining matchday - with admission free for children under 16 years old if accompanied by a paying adult.

The welcome reduction is price is hoped to bolster attendances but Boyd is also a firm believer in rewarding the supporters for such loyal backing in a season which featured the Swifts reaching the Irish Cup semi-final and pushing for European qualification.

“It is important we give something back, we have a real hardcore group of fans who follow us home and away and now we felt the time was right to help reward that loyalty,” said Boyd. “We have tried different things in the past to both celebrate our existing fans and try to open up the appeal of the club to other people.

“Next weekend’s match with Portadown will feature a bit of a fun day, with a penalty shoot-out for the children and a few other ideas.

“We took a bus-and-a-half full of fans away to Ballinamallard and that is practically unheard of for Dungannon.

“People will respond if the football is good and they enjoy the atmosphere, so we want to do what we can to strengthen those links and introduce Dungannon Swifts to other people as this is still a big area.”

Boyd is passionate about the unique appeal on offer from the Irish League.

“The cup run was a great platform for the club’s profile and it has been really encouraging to see people here this season I had never noticed in the past,” said Boyd. “There is so much competition for people’s time now but our game has something special because fans can get to see and talk to the players.

“If we can get the children hooked it is another generation of fans for the club and the Irish League.

“If a young fan gets to meet a player or something it can mean so much and the small things make a real difference.”