| 12.5°C Belfast

Football can still be the winner if clubs pull together: Marty Quinn

Marty Quinn

IRISH League legend Marty Quinn has insisted that the Irish Cup should be played to a finish this season and has appealed to the football fraternity to finally come together for the good of the game.

It is understood that the IFA will on Tuesday confirm that the Semi-Finals - Ballymena United v Coleraine and Cliftonville v Glentoran - will go ahead at the end of July at Windsor Park, with the Final to be played at the same venue. At this stage, games would be behind closed doors.

Quinn, a winner of the competition as a player with Cliftonville in 1979 and a manager with Coleraine in 2003, feels that is the right call.

He would also have preferred to have seen the seven sets of remaining games take place to finish the Premiership season, but he appreciates such a scenario is no longer on the cards.

Football in Northern Ireland was brought to a halt in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Quinn (above) says he has been cautious throughout lockdown, though he admits he has missed going to games.

"There have been much more important things happening than football over the past three months, but I think we will really appreciate the Irish League when it returns," he adds.

"I know I am busting to see a game again and I am sure many others feel the same way.

"To be honest with you, I would have liked to have seen teams play their remaining seven League games and end the campaign that way, but I know that may not be possible.

"What I do feel can happen, though, is to finish the Irish Cup and I really believe that should happen. I would be saying to the clubs, if the government allow it, here are the dates that the Semi-Finals and Final will be on and get your house in order and be ready to play.

"I know there will be a lack of fitness at the moment with players from the teams involved, but hopefully they can get back to training and the competition can be played. It would be important to do that."

Like many, Quinn has been shocked by the rows, claims and counter-claims that have dominated football here over the past month in relation to the conclusion of the League season. Ahead of today's meeting between the NIFL Premiership clubs and tomorrow's NIFL Board meeting, he wants togetherness.

"I am an outsider looking in now and it has all been ridiculous and become embarrassing for all of us who love Irish League football," he says.

"People have been throwing dummy tits out of the pram and it has not been good.

"There is no reason for all the arguing. This is a tough time for lots of people around the country and I really can't understand how, throughout this, clubs haven't been able to sit down, have good conversations, find some common ground and not be so selfish.

"For the good of the game, everyone needs to get their fingers out and resolve it because this has been going on too long."

Meanwhile, following on from Quinn's former player at Coleraine Gareth McAuley stating in last week's Sunday Life that minutes from the NI Football League meetings should be released to the public, this newspaper asked the NIFL if they would do that.

The reply was: "In line with company policy, minutes from meetings are only shared with member clubs."

Belfast Telegraph