Glentoran manager Mick McDermott says his side are “up for any fight” and indicated they will continue to protest their dismissal from the Irish Cup after their appeal was turned away on Friday.
The Glens were contesting the Irish FA’s decision to throw them out of the competition for playing Joe Crowe in their quarter-final 1-0 win over Newry City on 5 March.
However, the Irish FA announced on Friday that its Appeal Board has dismissed the club’s appeal.
“Glentoran will never go quietly into the night,” McDermott said via the club’s Twitter following the IFA board’s ruling.
“Challenges ahead – no doubt – but one thing we are sure of we are up for any fight!”
Newry remain reinstated and will play Ballymena United in the semi-final.
That match will take place at Mourneview Park on 13 April, having originally been scheduled for Saturday but being pushed back by 11 days after Glentoran made their appeal.
In a statement issued with the ruling on Friday, the Irish FA explained that the Glens’ appeal was made on four grounds and that all four were dismissed by the Appeal Board.
‘Clubs cannot and should not use Comet as a scapegoat’
In a document explaining the full rulingthe Irish FA said that clubs “cannot and should not use Comet as a scapegoat for their decisions concerning a player’s eligibility”.
After it emerged that Crowe may have been ineligible, Glens manager Mick McDermott claimed that the online Comet system used for registering players and listing players for each match is “not fit for purpose”.
He said that the online application process should have made he and his staff aware before the quarter-final that Crowe was suspended, but that it did not.
Crowe was ineligible to play in the quarter-final because he had not served a three-man ban which he picked up while playing for the club’s reserve team.
By the time of the quarter-final, Glentoran’s second string had played three games since Crowe picked up the suspension, but one was an Intermediate Cup match – a competition for which the 23-year-old Crowe is not eligible due to the number of senior appearances he has made.
While dismissing the Glens’ appeal, the IFA said the Appeal Board was satisfied that the appeal was “not of a frivolous or vexatious nature and therefore a costs sanction was not appropriate in the circumstances”.
The Irish FA said taken the initial decision to expel the Glens following a protest by Newry City after last month’s last-eight tie.
The exact four grounds of the Glens’ appeal were:
1. That the Committee misdirected itself regarding the application and / or interpretation of the Intermediate Cup Rules, specifically Rule 13 (iii);
2. The IFA Football Regulations do not apply in general and Regulation 27 does not apply specifically to the Intermediate Cup Rules;
3. The decision does not deal with, either adequately or at all, the observations made by Glentoran regarding the Comet system;
4. The decision does not take into account the impact the decision will have on Glentoran.
Rule 13 (iii) states that a player is ineligible to play in an Intermediate Cup tie if he has “played more than 12 senior matches during the current season”.
The IFA said Glentoran contended that “the wording of Rule 13 (iii) refers to a player having played full matches, ie not matches in which they have only appeared as a substitute or have been substituted before the end of the match, and rely on Law 7 of the Laws of the Game in this regard which provides that a match lasts for two equal halves of 45 minutes “.
Further addressing the Comet element of the Glentoran appeal, the IFA said “the Appeal Board understands that Comet is a platform designed to help with the administration of Association Football in this jurisdiction, it is by no means the gate keeper of a player’s eligibility.
“That is a matter that lies squarely with each club and is clearly set out in Article 15.5 of the IFA Disciplinary Code where it is stated: ‘Clubs shall be wholly responsible for ensuring that suspensions are served. It is each club’s responsibility to ensure the eligibility of their players for any match ‘. ”
In terms of the impact of the decision on Glentoran, the Appeal board said it acknowledges the importance of the competition for all clubs, but that it cannot consider the impact will have on a club when arriving at that decision.