Sunday, 18 January 2009

Irish Cup washout poses some awkward questions

Yesterday I had the dubious pleasure of driving to Ballyclare, buffeted by wind and lashed by rain, in order to watch 45 minutes of football, half-covered by a leaky shed. Ballymena United's cup tie was subsequently called off, at half-time, with the Sky Blues leading 1-0. Conditions had not worsened noticably in the 45 minutes which were played.

If the pitch was unplayable, or there were safety considerations, why was the match started in the first place? The referee inspected the pitch just five minutes before kick-off. Several other ties were similarly abandoned at half-time.

The cynic in me suspects that playing enough minutes in order to negate the necessity of refunds for supporters might have been a prime consideration. Of course the clubs and the IFA can help allay such any suspicions by opening up the gates for the re-arranged fixtures. In the light of some very dubious decision making, surely this is the least fans deserve?


FP said...

Definitely need an all-Ireland league to sort out football. What are the arguments against, other than vested interests?

Chekov said...

Well there's the pressure it will put on clubs to become full-time for a start. Given the difficulties southern clubs have got into it's hardly an enticing prospect. I doubt that Ireland can sustain a full-time league.

FB said...

Better chance of sustaining a league on an all-island basis than a split that leaves bigger clubs with unenticing fixtures. As a Bohs fan, I'd rather be playing Linfield or Glens than Finn Harps or UCD!

Chekov said...

The vast majority of clubs in Northern Ireland remain part-time. Even Linfield and the Glens retain part-time players. An all-Ireland league would have to be professional and the risks for most clubs / players would be huge. The addition of two big clubs isn't going to solve problems down south and the fact many full-time LOI teams are struggling means northern clubs don't see it as a solution either.