Irish Cup: Glentoran argued Crowe played 11.6 games in arbitration case

It was ruled that Joe Crowe had made 16 senior appearances and was ineligible for Glentoran's Irish Cup game with Newry City
It was ruled that Joe Crowe had made 16 senior appearances and was ineligible for Glentoran’s Irish Cup game with Newry City

Glentoran claimed in their failed Irish Cup arbitration hearing that a player’s total minutes on the pitch should determine their eligibility, not the number of games that they have played.

The argument was dismissed by the arbitrator Jane Bickerstaff QC.

Glentoran stated Joe Crowe played an aggregate of 11.6 90-minute matches across 16 senior games.

Intermediate Cup rules state a player must have played no more than 12 senior matches.

“If you played in a match, then you played,” said Bickerstaff about Glentoran’s aggregate claim.

Bickerstaff added that only counting full 90-minute matches “could easily be open to abuse” by removing a player minutes or seconds before the end of a game.

The full ruling from Thursday’s failed hearing was published on Wednesday.

Crowe was suspended for three matches after being sent off while playing for Glentoran’s reserves. He missed three matches, however as he was ineligible for the Intermediate Cup it was deemed he had only served a two games of the suspension before featuring in the Irish Cup quarter-final win over Newry City.

‘Club bears ultimate responsibility’

The east Belfast club took their case to arbitration following their initial appeal against expulsion was dismissed by the Irish FA.

Glentoran’s arbitration appeal was on three grounds. The first was over the interpretation of Rule 13 in the Intermediate Cup’s rules.

It was agreed that from 16 senior appearances, in which Crowe had made 11 starts and played the full 90 minute son eight occasions, he had an aggregate of 11.6 90-minutes games.

However, it was ruled that featuring in a match counted as an appearance, rather than the aggregate 90-minute matches played, and Crowe had made 16 senior appearances and was therefore ineligible.

The second aspect of Glentoran’s appeal was on the IFA’s regulations ground, however this was dismissed in relation to the failed grounds of the first appeal.

Glentoran manager Mick McDermott said the club "would not go quietly" following their expulsion from the Irish Cup
Glentoran manager Mick McDermott said the club would “not go quietly” following their expulsion from the Irish Cup

The third ground of appeal surrounded the Comet system, which is used for registering players and listing players for each match, however it was ruled that the club “bears ultimate responsibility” for checking whether a player is eligible for a match and “the onus is on the club to seek verification of information”.

Glentoran said Crowe was available on the Comet system prior to the Irish Cup game with Newry.

A final ground was brought forward in the form of the equity rule but Bickerstaff felt it and was more of a “sniff test” to see if it “feels right”.

The east Belfast club will also have to pay the Irish FA’s legal costs.

Newry City were reinstated to the cup but lost Tuesday’s semi-final to Ballymena United, who will now play Crusaders in the decider on 7 May.

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