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Pat McAllister hits out as Hoops wait on league

By Alex McGreevy

Irish League legend Pat McAllister has slammed the Irish FA’s handling of its new 17-club Championship league, describing it as “a complete mess” just three weeks into the campaign.

The Donegal Celtic assistant manager (pictured) has helped lead his team to an unbeaten start in league and cup competitions but the Hoops have played just two league games to date — and lost the points from one of them for fielding an ineligible player.

Celtic face Ards in a CIS Cup first leg tie on Saturday and again next Wednesday, in a second leg. After that, they return to Steel and Sons Cup action, having beaten Wakehurst and H&W Welders in the space of four days (Saturday and Tuesday past).

Success in both competitions prolongs a return to league duty because they take precedence over fixtures — an arrangement McAllister says is “a farce”.

Coagh United top the Championship having reaped 15 points from six games but Celtic are now lagging behind and facing a fixture pile-up.

“We are not happy with the IFA,” said McAllister. “What sort of governing body allows junior cup fixtures to dictate over league games? We are playing Steel and Sons Cup one week, CIS Cup the next; then it will be the Intermediate Cup and we simply don’t know when our next league game is happening.

“Players naturally want to win cup games but my players are already asking when the next league fixture is coming. We didn’t want to enter the Intermediate Cup but you have to enter that if you want to play in the Irish Cup.

It’s very frustrating because we are now playing catch-up and will have a load of games to get through. That puts us under greater pressure to win promotion. If I had my way we would only play in the league and Irish Cup.”

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