Belfast Telegraph

Magowan agony at missing Crusaders' cup final

David Magowan has spoken of his heartbreak after learning that he will miss the Irish Cup final through suspension.

Only Mark Dickson has made as many appearances as Magowan this season (42) and if there’s one player who deserves his day in the sun it is the tough tackling centre-back.

‘Mags’ has been in sensational form throughout the campaign — so much so that his boss Stephen Baxter refers to him as “the best defender in the league.”

Crusaders have a ready made replacement in Gary Smyth — a former Irish Cup winner with Glentoran — but this cruel twist of fate will hit Magowan hard.

After picking up his fifth booking of the season on Tuesday, his one-match suspension is implemented before the final on May 9.

Bans usually take effect on the Monday after two weeks have elapsed from the day of the last booking.

“I knew I was on four yellow cards but the timing of this fifth one couldn’t have been worse,” said Magowan (below).

“To say I am not happy about it is very much an understatement. There is no bigger game than a cup final and I know Crusaders don’t get to an Irish Cup final every season.

“I’ll be gutted and having to sit and watch the boys in the final will be devastating. I hate watching football anyway but a cup final is hard to take. I’m backing the boys to win the game with or without me and if we can lift that trophy I plan to enjoy the celebrations.

“We have been playing great football all season and an Irish Cup win would be a fitting reward for that. I don’t know how I’ll cope with sitting out the final but the rules are clear.”

Crues chairman Jim Semple added: “We cannot appeal a yellow card unless it’s a case of mistaken identity. I really feel for David as he deserves to play in the final. Rules don’t take into account sentiment. I can remember it happening before with Lee Doherty and sadly, it doesn’t look good for David.”

Belfast Telegraph

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