Belfast Telegraph

Jim Boyce lets rip at Irish FA move to ditch Irish Cup replays

By Graham Luney

Jim Boyce has slammed the Irish FA's decision to scrap replays in the Irish Cup as "an absolute disgrace".

The former Irish Football Association president let rip at the move introduced by the Challenge Cup committee in 2014 after watching Cliftonville crash out at the fifth round stage following extra-time and a penalty shoot-out against Ballymena United.

Former Cliftonville chairman Boyce argued: "This is not sour grapes on my part as my feelings would be the same for any team.

"I feel it's an absolute disgrace that the Irish Football Association decided to scrap replays in their premier Cup competition.

"I can understand why the final should be played to a finish but not rounds leading up to it."

Meanwhile, Richard Clarke admitted Dergview had self-destructed after their Irish Cup journey ended at Dungannon.

The Championship side's hopes of an upset were shattered in a seven minute spell either side of half-time.

Jarlath O'Rourke and Cormac Burke scored in the final three minutes of the first period, with Andrew Mitchell making it 3-0 just after the restart.

A disappointed Clarke said: "We had them frustrated for 40 minutes, but five minutes before half-time saw us self-destruct.

"We lost the ball too easily and the quality they have, they punished us."

The deadlock was broken in the 41st minute when a defensive clearance ricocheted in off O'Rourke. Burke then made it 2-0, driving into the far corner after some neat footwork.

Swifts made sure of their progress after the restart. The goalkeeper lost his footing and failed to collect the ball, with Mitchell scoring from a tight angle.

Dungannon now play Dollingstown in the next round.

Boss Rodney McAree said: "Dergview were well set up and made it difficult for us. But I thought if we were patient we always stood a chance of scoring that first goal, which would open the game up."

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