Newry City are set to escape expulsion from the Irish Cup — however strong the disciplinary action they may face in the aftermath of Saturday’s ugly clashes with Larne.
The border club were leading 2-1 when a second Larne sending-off in the space of two minutes sparked scenes of violence across the pitch involving players from both and officials.
Referee Raymond Crangle immediately adandoned the game, which had eight minutes remaining and has since stated that there was no other option open to him.
That has left the Irish FA to make a decision over what now happens to the match, with Loughgall awaiting the winners.
And Loughgall won’t be handed automatic entry into the quarter-finals as Irish Cup rules don’t allow for both teams to be kicked out.
The rules state: “If a match has been stopped by the referee before the completion of the time specified the (Challenge Cup) Committee shall have power to order such match to be replayed in full or, to allow result of the match at the time of such stoppage to stand.”
And Crangle has pulled no punches in his report into the incidents which led him to abandon Saturday’s Irish Cup fifth round tie between the teams.
The Belfast Telegraph has learned that the match official has slammed both teams for the violence which marred the match.
It is understood that Crangle’s findings place heavy blame on all the players and officials who became involved in scuffles and brawls as Newry led 2-1 with eight minutes to go.
Larne, however, carry 60 per cent of the blame according to the referee’s report with the Inver Park men hammered for instigating the trouble after they had Alan Reid sent-off.
Two minutes earlier Larne captain Liam Hogan had been red carded after pushing his hands into the face of Newry’s Darren King.
Irish FA president Raymond Kennedy will now attempt to fasttrack the disciplinary procedures so that action is taken quickly.
“Recieving the referee’s report is the first stage and as soon as we are in possession of that we will action the disciplinry procedures as quickly as possible,” said Kennedy.
“These things can take time, there is a process to go through, firstly with the Disciplinary Committee and then, of course, clubs have the right of appeal.
“Once that has been exhausted the matter will come to the Challenge Cup committee and I would like all that to happen quickly.
“There is a need to act promptly and correctly to deal with what happened.”