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Glentoran thrown out of the Irish Cup after the Irish FA ruled they played unqualified Joe Crowe in their quarter-final win over Newry City.

Gletoran semi-finals place has been in doubt since suggestions Crowe hadn’t completed a three-man ban which arose while playing for Glens’ reserves.

An Irish FA statement said that a decision as been taken “following a protest by Newry City”.

Reinstated Newry are now set to face Ballymena United in the semi-finals.

Glentoran will have the right of appeal in accordance with Article 14 of the IFA Articles of Association and the club reacted quickly to the announcement by saying they would launch an appeal.

A club statement said it “notes the decision of the Irish Football Association to reinstate Newry City”.

“While the club respects the Challenge Cup Committee, Glentoran will now seek legal advice on this decision and will proceed accordingly in the appeals process.

Glentoran (McDermott’s) side won the Irish Cup in 2020


Following the Tuesday’s Irish Premiership defeat by Cliftonville, Glentoran manager Mick McDermott insisted that Crowe had been eligible to play in the cup game and strongly criticised the system used for naming matchday line-ups in Northern Ireland.

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 would “fight their corner” strongly if the IFA did expel them from the Irish Cup.

Asked on Wednesday about McDermott’s criticisms of the Comet system, the IFA did not respond directly to enquiries from BBC Sport Northern Ireland.

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.

Glentoran’s expulsion from the Irish Cup is the fourth such affair in Northern Ireland senior football this year.

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 and Institute were expelled from the League Cup for registration issues in September and October.

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

“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.”

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