Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Biting Back: Big changes lie ahead for Irish League

By Graham Luney

Published 18/05/2015

Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton
Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton

With another Danske Bank Premiership campaign done and dusted, managers, players and supporters are assessing where it went right and wrong.

Dramatic change lies ahead as a new play-off system will be introduced at the end of next season for a Europa League place.

While the spotlight has understandably fallen on Crusaders who won the title for the first time in 18 years, Glenavon's late surge to the European stage was a remarkable story.

And there is no-one who can say the Lurgan Blues don't deserve their Europa League adventure this summer after storming to a third-placed finish. But if the new play-off system had already been introduced, Gary Hamilton's side would not have been guaranteed a European place.

In fact, with the seventhplaced team entering the play-off, Ballymena United as well as Glentoran, Cliftonville or Portadown could have snatched that cherished spot.

All Glenavon's incredible efforts could have been in vain.

What you will get is more competitive matches at the end of the season and the Northern Ireland Football League wants to remove, as much as they possibly can, meaningless matches as the season reaches a climax.

It's an intriguing idea but we only imagine how a club like Glenavon would feel if some play-off misfortune meant their consistent form which netted a third-placed finish counted for nothing.

Is it a fair and just way of distributing a European place and the riches it brings?

I don't think anyone can say it is.

Belfast Telegraph

How to Complain

If you have a complaint about the editorial content of the Belfast Telegraph or Sunday Life then contact the Editor here. If you are not satisfied with the response provided then you can contact the Independent Press Standards Organisation here

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph