Belfast Telegraph

Biting Back: Irish League season would not be the same without a fuss

By Conor McLaughlin

Tiresome old cliche it may be, but no Irish League season would be complete without an eligibility or registration hullabaloo.

Marc Kenny, Michael Crowe, Gareth Fulton, Simon Gribben, Gerard McMahon, Andy Kilmartin, Gary Smyth, Carlos Alvarez, Andy Crawford and Alan Davidson are just a handful of the names who have made headlines for administrative errors in the not-so-distant past.

We've not even reached Christmas yet and already we're onto our THIRD such row in the Danske Bank Premiership, with Coleraine (Ruairi Harkin) and Institute (Eugene Ferry) mistakenly fielding players in matches they should not have been involved in.

It is, however, the curious case of Gary Hamilton which continues to get tongues wagging and, as is customary, stakeholders want justice and a scapegoat in equal measure.

The Irish Football Association - whose error caused this whole stink in the first place - have dismissed Glentoran's appeal against the Glenavon player-manager's appearance in last month's fixture between the sides, while the NI Football League do not possess the power to overrule that decision.

As is explained inside today's paper, it is the IFA who rule the roost on disciplinary matters and, whether they like it or not, NIFL must adhere to their take on all such affairs.

Refusing to hear Glentoran's latest appeal has earned NIFL criticism from some quarters but to target them is to shift attention away from where the blame really lies.

It's the IFA who have made a mess of a very simple situation and it's shameful that an innocent party - be that the Glens or Lurgan Blues - will eventually suffer the consequences.

Belfast Telegraph


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