Irish FA president David Martin says he is delighted that he pushed ahead to finish the Irish Cup on the pitch.
While the Northern Ireland Football League board dithered over the summer and clubs fell out in relation to how they would finish the Irish Premiership, with places in the top three divisions ultimately decided on a points-per-game basis, Martin had always insisted that the IFA’s flagship competition would end on the pitch once the NI Executive gave the go-ahead for football to return.
He admitted to feeling a sense of pride after last night’s Irish Cup final between Ballymena United and Glentoran that, over a two-week period, 10 matches in IFA-affiliated competitions were played as the Intermediate Cup, Junior Cup and Youth Cup were all completed.
“When it was deemed safe for football to come back, we were intent on finishing the IFA Challenge Cup on the pitch, and we wanted to do that with our other competitions,” said Martin.
“A lot of work went into all the matches and I would like to pay tribute to all those involved. The IFA staff deserve great credit for what has been achieved, and in particular I want to mention Nick Campbell and Leigh Sillery, who went above and beyond.
“I always felt the right thing to do was to try our best to finish the Irish Cup the way it should finish and I am delighted we were able to do that, and the winners have earned their place in the Europa League.”