Irvine Amateur Football Club manager Keith Graham says he’s excited to get into a busy pre-season ahead of their long-awaited return to league football.

The club have not played a competitive match in over a year due to COVID-19 restrictions on the amateur game.

However, with the ongoing easing of restrictions they could be back playing in the Ayrshire Amateur Division One as soon as August.

Graham said: “We have a provisional date that will go ahead, unless there is another lockdown, of August 7.

“There is a league formation meeting this week that will decide if we are sticking to the same set up as last season before we got halted or if some teams will get moved around the divisions to balance the leagues.

“This is because some teams have decided not to come back to amateur football and there are some new teams coming into the Ayrshire Association, so we will wait and see what the outcome of that meeting is/”

Ahead of their return to the league. the team started off non-contact training in smaller groups at the end of April, once a week.

The easing of restrictions meant in May they could move back to full contact training and begin to organise friendlies.

Irvine AFC lost their first friendly, 4-0 to Kilmarnock Amateurs, at the end of last month.

However, last weekend they avenged that result with a whopping 12-0 win over Darvel Victoria Amateur Football Club at Irvine Sports Club.

The club now look ahead to their pre-season tournament this week which sees Irvine AFC playing group games every Wednesday and Saturday for the next four weeks.

Graham said: “We normally run our own pre-season tournament every season and Stewarton United always attend.

“This year however, what we have decided to do is let them run a tournament and take it year about between the two clubs from now on.

“The teams in our group stage are Bonnyton Amateurs, Kilmarnock Amateurs and Ardeer West Recreation Amateurs. “