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Inverness amateur football season is set to kick-off.

By Will Clark

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Maryburgh are the defending Premiership champions.
Maryburgh are the defending Premiership champions.

SUMMER is about to kick-off as the Inverness and District Football Association returned to action this week.

A total of 26 teams from across Inverness-shire and Ross-shire will compete across three divisions as well as in a number of cup competitions.

The season kicked off on Tuesday night with the First Division, with the Second Division starting on Wednesday night.

The Premier Division will start on Monday, April 15 to ensure it starts after the final matches of the North Caledonian League season.

League secretary Jon McKenzie says the association are pleased to have so many teams taking part in the competition this year.

Renovation works at Bught Park, where a number of teams traditionally play, has impacted on some clubs not taking part this season.

But McKenzie says they are pleased with the total number of clubs who have decided to take part.

He said: “Due to what is happening at Bught Park, there are smaller leagues this season with some teams from last year opting not to take part.

“There will be no more than three games taking place at Bught Park on any night which has caused problems arranging fixtures in some weeks.

“But there are also clubs who have their own pitches which they can use.

“However, we have an eight-team Premier Division and nine teams in both the First Division and Second Division.

“There are a lot of players and coaches involved in the league and everyone is determined to play this summer.

“People want to play football and the league means a lot to people.”

Maryburgh wiped the floor with everyone last season by winning the league and the cup. They went the entire league season undefeated last year.

“Avoch won the Highland Amateur Cup last season and will be desperate to take the title off Maryburgh and I think they will be the teams to beat.

“Ardersier look to have a very good team this season, and with Loch Ness not taking part this year, it will be interesting to see where their players turn up.”

In addition, teams will also be taking part in the Highland Amateur Cup, which involves clubs from across the Highlands and Islands region.

Organisers have revealed the draw for the preliminary round and first round of the tournament will take place on Saturday, April 13.

The draw will take place at the National Hotel at Dingwall at 11:30am.

Avoch won the Highland Amateur Cup for the seventh time last season when they beat Wick Groats 1-0 at Harmsworth Park in Wick.

McKenzie believes either Avoch or Maryburgh are the two most likely teams from the IDFA are capable of winning the Highland Amateur Cup.

“I expect those two teams to compete for the trophy. Clachnacuddin Under-18’s also got to the semi final.

“I think any of the top teams in the league could have a good go at the competition.”

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