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Glentoran braced for delay in their defence of Irish Cup

By Stuart McKinley

Published 06/01/2016

Dampener: pumps are attempting to clear The Oval pitch of water but Chairman Stephen Henderson fears the worst
Dampener: pumps are attempting to clear The Oval pitch of water but Chairman Stephen Henderson fears the worst

The kick-off of Glentoran's Irish Cup defence looks in serious danger of being delayed.

The Glens lifted the trophy in a downpour back in May - on a day far removed from the usual Irish Cup final sunshine with a short-sleeve crowd in attendance - but already the rain looks like beating them this time.

Alan Kernaghan's side are due to face Championship 1 leaders Ards on Saturday in the fifth round of this season's competition, but Glentoran officials have already informed the Irish FA of the very real possibility that the match will have to be postponed.

Large parts of The Oval pitch are covered in water and despite the club being on the ball to put pumps in place since Sunday in an attempt to clear the playing area, there is still a lot of work to do if the game is going to be played.

This comes just 10 days after it took a massive effort to get the Boxing Day Danske Bank Premiership game at home to Linfield on, with kick-off being delayed by an hour to allow the pitch to be worked on.

Glentoran chairman Stephen Henderson said: "We have five pumps on the pitch trying to clear the water and we have a team of volunteers who are filling the generators with diesel to make sure they keep running.

"We have already called the IFA to make them aware of the problem and we have also been in touch with Ards.

"We asked Ards would they be willing to play on Sunday should it be called off on Saturday and they have said no. So at the minute we are looking at Monday night as an option."

Henderson, however, is well aware that no matter how much work the club's team of volunteers do, it may not be enough.

"From Wednesday morning the forecast is looking relatively good, but there are literally tens of thousands of litres of water on the pitch," said Henderson.

"It will take a good couple of days to clear that - and that's providing that the weather stays dry. At this stage it's not looking good."

Belfast Telegraph

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