Football/Soccer

Back in the day - Cliftonville facing Cup final expulsion - The Irish News, Apr 27 1999

 Simon Gribben
The Irish News Archive

CLIFTONVILLE may be thrown out of Saturday’s Bass Irish Cup final against Portadown after fielding an ineligible player in the semi-final replay.

The Irish News has learned striker Simon Gribben, a former Down U21 player, participated in an earlier round of the competition for amateur league side Kilmore Rec.

Cliftonville face expulsion from the competition and Saturday’s final is now in serious doubt.

It is possible Portadown could now be handed the trophy without the season’s showpiece occasion going ahead.

It is understood Linfield, who were beaten 1-0 by Cliftonville in last Tuesday’s semi-final replay, learned Gribben was cup-tied and sent a letter of protest to the IFA yesterday afternoon.

However it is extremely unlikely Linfield will be re-instated to the competition as any protest must be lodged within 48 hours of the transgression occuring.

No-one from Cliftonville Football Club was available for comment last night but the board are understood to be extremely worried about the situation. The club stopped selling cup final tickets at Solitude last night although it is believed these may go on sale again later today.

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ARMAGH’S Des Mackin will definitely miss Sunday’s NFL semifinal replay with Dublin after tearing a hamstring 28 minutes into Sunday’s draw. The injury could also rule him out of the first round of the Ulster Senior Football Championship against Donegal on June 6.

Mackin’s hamstring tear was Armagh’s only black spot from a demanding semi-final at Croke Park, though the problems Ciaran Whelan and Enda Sheehy imposed at midfield could force replay changes.

The positives, though, in the opinion of team spokesman Patrick Nugent far outweighed the negatives.

Diarmaid Marsden came through the game well, Cathal O’Rourke may be fit for the rematch, Oisin McConville excelled on his return to top class competition, while young guns Peter Loughran and Paddy McKeever impressed.

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PETER Reilly has returned from a 15 month injury lay-off and is back just in time to lead Cavan’s attack in the Ulster Championship.

The 23-year-old suffered a cruciate ligament injury in a league match against Dublin in February of last year and played his first game in almost 15 months on Sunday.

Reilly, who helped Cavan win the Ulster championship in 1997, lined out in a challenge match on Sunday against Longford in what is being seen a timely boost for the county after a difficult winter.

It was the Knockbride man’s first chance to play under new manager Val Andrews, who replaced Liam Austin in January.

Although Reilly lined out in Pearse Park in the half-back line where he has played on several occasions, he should be back terrorising defences when Cavan begin their Ulster Championship quest against Derry in Casement Park on June 13.

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