Belfast Telegraph

Why the Milk Cup must avoid the nuclear option

The Jim Gracey column

Coleraine needs the Milk Cup and the Milk Cup needs Coleraine.

That's the bottom line in the fallout over the forced march of this year's Milk Cup Finals down the road to the rival borough of Ballymena.

The sound and fury in Coleraine over the move was predictable and understandable.

All week up there, they've been playing the blame game, pointing fingers left, right and centre over the loss of the tournament showpiece and all the time missing the point.

This was a blow they should have seen coming and had time to deflect. But no-one did.

It was delivered by Health and Safety issues, centred on the Finals’ night crowd numbers and facilities for the six competing teams, not by the Milk Cup people who stayed their hand until matters were taken out of their grasp. Still, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and good can come from this in the shape of a new, improved Showgrounds — a fitting totem to the town's proud football traditions.

That can only happen if all the concerned parties come together with a common aim; to restore the Finals to their spiritual home.

The noise will die down eventually and when it does, all that energy needs to be channelled into a rescue plan.

For the full story, see this week's Sunday Life.

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