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Fresh doubt over Setanta Cup as Crusaders withdraw

By Stuart McKinley

The future of the Setanta Sports Cup has been thrown into serious doubt after another club pulled out of the 2015 competition without a ball being kicked.

Danske Bank Premiership champions Crusaders, who won the all-Ireland tournament in 2012, have become the second Northern Ireland team to withdraw.

The Crues are understood to have grown frustrated with the apparent lack of organisation and will now make their own pre-season plans ahead of playing in the Champions League qualifiers in early July.

With Linfield already turning down their invitation it means that the only two Irish League clubs to have lifted the trophy will not take part if the competition is played this year.

That, however, is a very big if, with the draw, which had been planned for Thursday, being postponed at just a couple of days' notice.

The quarter-finals, which were scheduled to be played at the end of June, have also been scrapped.

The Irish FA and Football Association of Ireland are now in a frantic search to find dates which suit all clubs in order to save the competition from extinction.

The race is on to fit it in before the end of the League of Ireland season in late October.

Belfast Telegraph

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