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Irish FA and Uefa holding talks to resolve Irish Cup semi-final headache

Farce as big match arranged for week bosses are on Swiss coaching course


Mick McDermott

Mick McDermott

�INPHO/Declan Roughan

Paddy McLaughlin

Paddy McLaughlin

�INPHO/Declan Roghan

Mick McDermott

The Irish Football Association are hoping to find out on Monday whether a UEFA PRO licence course will be postponed, allowing the Irish Cup semi-final between Glentoran and Cliftonville to kick off at Windsor Park on April 7.

The Association's Challenge Cup committee announced the date for the eagerly awaited final four clash without realising that Glentoran manager Mick McDermott and Cliftonville boss Paddy McLaughlin are both on the course in Nyon, Switzerland.

Supporters yesterday blasted the Irish FA on social media for the date blunder and also for arranging a big semi-final on a Tuesday night.

UEFA, however, have postponed meetings and events in recent days due to the ongoing coronavirus health crisis and the Irish FA have asked European football's governing body if the course will go ahead as planned.

Both managers are due to fly out on Sunday, April 5 and won't return home until Thursday, April 9.

If the course does proceed, the IFA will have to go back to the drawing board and come up with a fresh date for the semi-final. It's inconceivable that neither manager will be in the dugout for what is a massive game for both clubs.

It is hoped, however, that the match can still be played before the Easter weekend.

The original dates for the game, either March 27 or 28, were unsuitable because there is a chance Northern Ireland could be involved in a Euro 2020 play-off decider on Tuesday, March 31 and Glentoran players are expected to be called up for Under-21 duty.

Given the huge interest in the game and the number of fans expected to attend, Windsor Park is the only suitable venue for the tie. The other semi-final - Ballymena United v Coleraine - will be played on Friday, March 27 at the Oval and will be broadcast live on BBC.

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