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League leaders Aileach face points deduction 16.02.12

by Caoimhinn Barr, Inishowen Independent

The Inishowen Premier Division title race could be sensationally thrown wide open tonight when League officials meet to discuss a possible points deduction for high-flying Aileach.
Brian Bell’s players had been on a seemingly relentless march to glory but could be halted in their tracks after it emerged that the club may have fielded an ineligible player in a crunch clash against Glengad United less than two weeks ago.
Inishowen League officials confirmed that the Crua men lodged a complaint following the game on February 5 last, which Aileach won 4-3.
The League will hear details of that complaint in a key meeting tonight when it is likely that the Inch men will be stripped of the three points, which could be given to Glengad.
An outcome favouring Liam McClean’s team tonight would also bring Moville, Clonmany and Carn back into the title reckoning with everything to play for over the next month.
It is understood that Glengad United’s complaint centres on a player recently transferred to Aileach, who was unaware that he had a one-game ban left to serve while playing for a different club last season.
League PRO Terence Hegarty confirmed that Glengad’s appeal against Aileach’s recent victory would be heard tonight but said he could not comment further on the matter.
Aileach Reserves were last week deducted three points for a similar offence.
Speaking to the Inishowen Independent yesterday Aileach Chairman Stephen O’Donnell said news of the appeal was ‘disappointing’.
“From a sportsmanship point of view, everyone at the club is extremely disappointed. As far as we were concerned the player was properly signed and completely above board, we were totally unaware that he had a one-match ban to serve.
“As soon as we realised the player had a one-game ban to serve we invoked it for the game against Cockhill last week so hopefully common sense will prevail and the League will see that. We feel the League has a proportion of responsibility on this because we first cleared the player with them and were not informed of any outstanding ban when we signed him,” he added.
The Aileach Chairman said players and supporters were very ‘annoyed’ by what had happened.
“Last Sunday against Cockhill should have been an atmosphere of celebration because after winning the game we were almost there but instead there is this black cloud hanging over the club,” he said.
“League titles should be won on the pitch and not in meeting rooms. We are aware that as we become more of a high-profile club we have to scrutinise everything we do more closely but we seem to be becoming public enemy number one for no reason,” he added.
On a more positive note, O’Donnell was keen to stress that Aileach will still have the title in their own hands even if they lose the appeal tonight.
The Inch men have two league games left, both home and away against in-form Carn. They may now need to win both of those games to secure an historic first ever title.

How the table will look if Aileach are deducted three points
Team, Played, Pts
Aileach, 14, 31
Clonmany, 15, 30
Glengad, 13, 27
Moville, 13, 25
Carn, 9, 13
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