FORMER Avondale United manager John Ryan has accused UCC FC of using ‘under handed’ tactics to take the Munster Senior League title from Avondale’s trophy cabinet and lock it away there own.
The University side were awarded three more points and thus the title when an appeal against Leed’s for fielding an ineligible player against UCC was brought to the Court of Arbitration was successful.
UCC were awarded a 3-0 victory and as a result they were crowned champions five months after Avondale lifted the trophy aloft after a match against the new titlists.
Being awarded a win and the points if a team has been found to play an illegible player against you seems standard practice across Irish amateur leagues and on that basis the ruling, even if it results in the changing of the record books and the moving of the trophy, wouldn’t prompt too many protest.
However, a fuming Ryan claims, as always in Irish football, there is a lot more to the story, and is on a one man mission to get ‘the truth’ out there.
The manager, who presided over Avondale’s trophy laden 2013/14 season doesn’t take major issue with the ruling of the three points, but is adamant UCC’s appeal process was ‘contrived’, ‘under handed’ and even anti sport.
Pulling no punches the angered Cork man told The JSP,
“It was a most certainly a contrived process. It was even under handed. I don’t know anyone who would want to win a title like this, away from the pitch. I am upset myself, the coaches and the players gave 10 months of our lives and this is what we get and from a University that is usually a beacon of sport in Cork, a University that is meant to promote and be a standard bear in terms of sport. We want to take this further, but I am not sure if their is a court route we can go so I am going to get our side of the story out there and tell anyone that will listen what happened.”
So what is the Avondale’s side story? Well Ryan explains a serious of events that back up his angry claims.
“On Sunday May 18 we won our second last game of the season and went four points clear of UCC with one game to go. So basically we were going into the final league game of the season, which happened to be against UCC four points clear. So we believed we had won the title.
“We had to play UCC on the Wednesday and it was sandwiched in between a cup final and an FAI Senior Cup clash in Dublin against Collinstown,” Ryan continued.
“With two big cup games and a league game in that period of time I thought I should manage the squad and rest some players. So after we heard rumblings of an appeal we rang the league on May 23 two days before the cup final and the busy week began.
“They confirmed no appeal had been lodged and confirmed we were MSL champions. So we won the cup final and then rested a number of players for what was a dead rubber against UCC. We were four points clear with one game to go, we were told we were champions, it was a dead rubber!
“We made five changes to our starting line up and brought in a host of Junior players for the bench. We didn’t play particularly well and we lost. At the time it made no difference we were awarded the trophy and we went on to beat Collinstown with our full strength side,” Ryan explains matter of fact before the upset creeps back into his vocal cords.
“The the next day UCC lodge an appeal. After the game and an appeal against a tie that took place in November. It really isn’t right or fair. The appeal was thrown out by the Munster Senior League, The Munster Council and the FAI, but this week the Court of Arbitration ruled in their favour.”
“This isn’t us being a sore loser. I just think it is wrong and deliberate what they did. If we would have known they had an appeal in we would have played a full side, but we were told we were champions. If they knew they were going to appeal why not inform us? Why not appeal anytime after November? Why put an injunction on the game and we could have played a playoff? We would have no problem with that. I just think it was under handed tactics, and I think knowing we had a busy schedule that we would rest players, they might get to within a point, appeal and then win the league.”