Mick McDermott: Glentoran boss slams matchday squad-naming system and insists Joe Crowe was eligible

McDermott’s Glentoran side won the Irish Cup in 2020

Glentoran boss Mick McDermott has strongly criticized the system used for naming matchday line-ups in Northern Ireland and insisted Joe Crowe was eligible to play in their Irish Cup win over Newry City on Saturday.

The Glens’ place in the semi-finals of the competition has been thrown into doubt as it is understood Crowe played against Newry without having completed a three-game suspension.

The Irish FA said on Saturday that it is aware of the matter, though no action has been taken.

Speaking after his side’s 1-0 Irish Premiership defeat by Cliftonville on Tuesday night, 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 Saturday’s match that Crowe was suspended, but that it did not. Furthermore, he said that Crowe was still deemed eligible by Comet for Tuesday night’s game at The Oval, although he was not selected.

The Glentoran boss, who is also a director at the club, added that the east Belfast outfit will “fight their corner” strongly if the IFA do expel them from the Irish Cup.

“I would like to ask the question why, tonight [Tuesday]Joe Crowe is still available to play on the Comet system, “McDermott said.

“Surely if the people behind the Comet system that were aware of the information and raised concern that he was ineligible – we still don’t believe he was but they raised the concern – would those same people now flag him to be ineligible? No, Joe Crowe is still available on the Comet system. ”

In response, an Irish FA spokesman said: “We have written to Glentoran for their observations. The Irish FA Challenge Cup Committee will subsequently consider these observations.

“The matter concerning Joe Crowe’s eligibility for Saturday’s game is now subject to a protest and therefore it is not appropriate to provide comment while these proceedings are ongoing.”

That protest came from Newry City, who would be likely to take Glentoran’s place in the semi-final against Ballymena United if the Glens are expelled from the Irish Cup.

The IFA did not respond directly to inquiries around McDermott’s criticisms of the Comet system.

‘We don’t believe Joe was ineligible’

Joe Crowe
Crowe started for Glentoran in the 1-0 win over Newry

Crowe picked up his ban while playing for the Glens’ reserve team. By Saturday, 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.

Dundela were thrown out of the Irish Cup after the Championship side fielded an ineligible player in their first-round victory over Ards, who went on to face Newry in the second round, while Larne were expelled from the second round of the League Cup for a registration issue in September.

“As people have said time and time again – with Dundela, with Larne and other instances – the system is not fit for purpose,” McDermott continued.

“Why make us use it when it is a broken system? And then hide behind the rule that clubs are responsible for keeping their details in order? We know that, but you force us to use a system that is not fit for purpose.”

Glens ‘we will be fighting our corner’

Newry City
Newry would be the only Championship side in the Irish Cup last four if they are reinstated

With McDermott adamant that Crowe was eligible to play in the tie against Newry, he said that the east Belfast club would strongly contest any decision by the Irish FA to throw them out of the competition.

“That’s a debate that we are going to have with the authorities. We will wait, we haven’t received anything from the authorities yet to tell us what we have to do, but there is no doubt about it – Glentoran Football Club will be fighting our corner, “he added.

“We are not going to go into the night quietly here, so let’s see what happens. Glentoran Football Club is not a small club, we have a man who owns this club and he is not going to go quietly into the darkness. If we have to fight our corner we absolutely no doubt will. ”

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