Belfast Telegraph

Weather leads ref to abandon Mallards tie

By Gareth Cauldwell

Referee Mervyn Smyth abandoned last night's Irish Cup tie between Ballinamallard and Glenavon after 32 minutes as heavy rain led to the Ferney Park becoming waterlogged.

The pitch was deemed playable by Smyth when he arrived at the ground but a heavy downpour came on from the first minute of the game and the official had no choice but to call the tie off as the pitch became covered in water.

Both managers agreed that the right decision was made.

"The referee made the right decision (to abandon the game) and he also made the right decision to start the game because the pitch was perfect," said Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton.

"But unfortunately whenever we came out to start the game the rain came down and it was getting dangerous towards the end."

And Ballinamallard manager Whitey Anderson concurred.

"The pitch looked fine before we started but you can't do anything about that, the rain was unbelievable," he said.

"If the rain had stayed off we would have been alright but there was nothing you could do."

Before the tie was brought to a premature end, Glenavon should have taken the lead when they were awarded a penalty in the 24th minute when Shane McCabe was upended in the box.

However, Brian McCaul's spot-kick hit the post and as the rain continued and the ball began to stick in puddles, Smyth had no choice but to halt proceedings.

* Glenavon starlet Robbie McDaid is poised to join Leeds United. The 18-year-old is set to sign a two-year deal with the Elland Road club.

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