Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Celtic face confusion over Cleary suspension

Donegal Celtic 2 Lisburn Distillery 1

Donegal Celtic are confident they have no case to answer over claims that midfielder Sean Cleary should not have played in their relegation battle with Lisburn Distillery on Saturday.

Cleary's super strike early in the second half doubled DC's advantage and rendered Johnny Harkness' consolation ultimately meaningless as the Hoops pulled eight points clear of the Whites.

It later transpired, however, that confusion abounded over Cleary's eligibility to participate in the match amid suggestions he should have sat out through suspension.

Sent off against Ballymena United on March 2, the 30-year-old served an automatic one-match ban against Cliftonville at Solitude on March 9.

However, an IFA suspensions list dated March 4 stipulated that Cleary had already been due to miss out against the Reds as a consequence of receiving five bookings over the course of the season – meaning he should also have sat out against Distillery.

Celtic insist that, following midweek communications with the Irish Football Association, they are in receipt of correspondence which claimed Cleary was eligible to play.

They contest that the player had, in fact, only picked up four yellow cards and that the suspension listed on irishfa.com was an administrative error – but it appears an Irish Cup booking, also against Cliftonville, on February 9 may not have been taken into account.

Should it transpire that the west Belfast outfit were in breach of the rules, the points won at the weekend would be forfeited and awarded to Distillery – which would lift the Whites to within two points of DC with two games in hand.

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