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Why Linfield would have been kicked out of the County Antrim Shield after substitution confusion

Linfield's David Healy during the County Antrim Shield quarter final
Linfield's David Healy during the County Antrim Shield quarter final

By STEPHEN LOONEY

Linfield fell foul of Co Antrim Shield rules on Tuesday night that would have seen last year's beaten finalists kicked out of the competition.

The Blues were beaten by Cliftonville 4-3 on penalties after the quarter-final tie finished 2-2 after 90 minutes, making their transgression of the rules irrelevant.

Linfield boss David Healy asked if he could bring on Trai Hume for extra time, after using substitutes Daniel Reynolds, Dale Taylor and Charlie Allen in normal time, and, he insists, was given the green light by fourth official Jamie Robinson.

Using a fourth substitute in extra time was introduced by FIFA at last year's World Cup Finals, and was widely adopted by national associations for cup competitions.

However, Co Antrim Senior Shield rule 13 states: "Only three substitutions by each side will be permitted in any match."

Larne asked if they could use a fourth substitute in their quarter-final tie with Glentoran on the same night and were refused permission.

Responsibility for adhering to individual competition rules lies first and foremost with clubs, but a circular went round local referees recently advising them to be aware of separate rules for separate competitions.

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The Co Antrim FA confirmed that only three substitutes are currently allowed in their senior cup competition, but revealed they might consider a change to their rules for next year's Co Antrim Shield.

"In line with the competition rules of the Co Antrim Shield, teams are permitted to use a maximum of three substitutes at any point in the match", said a Co Antrim FA spokesperson.

"It is the responsibility of all teams competing in the competition to ensure that they act in accordance with the rules of the competition.

"The competition rules are reviewed each season and any future proposals will be considered where appropriate by the Co Antrim FA Senior Shield Committee."

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