Mowbray Rangers have strengthened their ties with another club outside these shores as officials made a return trip to the Republic of Ireland.
Rangers, who are already ‘twinned’ with French club Etoile, hosted Irish junior football team Monaghan United at their annual International Football Festival in May.
Chairman Phil Baker and his wife Kim accepted an invitation from his opposite number Ronan Callan to visit to their club and tour their facilities.
After watching the Republic of Ireland v Northern Ireland match in Dublin, with Monaghan secretary Patrick, Phil and Kim made the 90-minute trip to Monaghan and were astounded by the size and scale of the club’s facilities.
The ambitious club was founded in 1979 and by 1983 had joined the League of Ireland B Division.
A year later they joined the League of Ireland First Division, and from 2012 the club’s senior team has competed in the FAI League First and Premier Division.
Monaghan also formed a ladies’ team in 2006 which enjoyed success within three years, and the club has been involved in junior football since the late 1980s.
Their ground consists of a senior floodlit pitch with large clubhouse and 500-capacity stand, several five-a-side Astroturf pitches, a full-size Astroturf pitch and three full-size grass pitches.
Rangers have been invited to send a team over to Ireland next year and Monaghan have already committed to play here in the International Football Festival again next June.
Phil said: “We were made most welcome by the committee members of Monaghan and both clubs feel there ideas that they can exchange to move both clubs forward in the future.
“From our time spent at the ground and through people we met, it was apparently clear of the close bond the club had with the community of Monaghan and this is the way in which Mowbray Rangers would like to move.
“The time spent in each other’s company both here in Melton and over there has fused the club’s friendship.
“Long may our friendship continue with our French friends of Etoile and our new friends of Monaghan.”