Belfast Telegraph

Biting Back: Irish League campaign has surplus of eligibility rows

By Conor McLaughlin

Amid the greatest season in living memory, all Danske Bank Premiership stakeholders have been unnerved by the feeling that something, somewhere was missing - until now.

No Irish League campaign is complete, it seems, without an eligibility row and, in keeping with the upward trajectory of the competition, we've been handed THREE to salivate over all at once.

Glenavon player/manager (the dividing stroke is important there, believe me) Gary Hamilton inspired his side to a comeback victory over Glentoran on Saturday, just seven days after being red-carded during the Lurgan Blues' defeat to Linfield.

Glentoran believe he should have missed the game through suspension and will be filing a protest to the Irish Football Association, who assert that Hamilton was only sent off as a manager and not a player.

That being the case, could the hirsute gaffer - who, according to the IFA, can be treated as two different people - have conceivably taken to the Mourneview pitch last Saturday on the proviso that he didn't talk?

On which note, mouths being kept shut may prevent any action being taken against either Coleraine or Institute, who conjured up their own disciplinary conundrum last weekend.

Bannsiders midfielder Ruairi Harkin played while suspended versus a Stute side whose on-loan keeper, Eugene Ferry, was not eligible to feature against his parent club. However, the bizarre prospect of both factions facing automatic 3-0 defeats appears likely to be avoided because no official complaint was made to the governing body. Never let it be said that the unpredictable world of Irish League football does anything by half.

Belfast Telegraph


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