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