With the participation in the “Euros” now but a distant memory following last night’s final match against Italy, the F.A.I. must now focus its attentions on what could prove a troublesome domestic issue.
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
Current Premier Division basement side, Monaghan United, have announced their withdrawal from the League due to financial reasons and with almost half the season completed, the ramifications of such a move could prove highly controversial.
Indeed, from a Derry City perspective, the loss of Monaghan could prove disastrous on so many fronts. While Derry prepare to travel to Turner’s Cross for a game against Cork City this Friday night, they must also travel to Sligo Rovers next Tuesday night for an EA Sports League Cup quarter-final tie.
However, with Sligo due to face Monaghan this Saturday night, the “Bit O’Red” will now appreciate another restful weekend prior to the visit of the “Candy Stripes.”
And Sligo will also be interested in the league’s decision on which club will represent Monaghan in the FAI Cup fourth round, given that the border side stunned the cup holders of the last two years, - Sligo Rovers - in the last round!
Past practice would indicate that all Monaghan’s opponents will be awarded victories whether matches have been played or not and that will bring different consequences.
Derry, who defeated Monaghan 4-1 in their only meeting this season, will not benefit. However, Shamrock Rovers who recorded a defeat and a draw, would now receive six points, gaining two having been held at Gortakeegan.
And the same situation would apply to St. Pat’s Athletic who have also played Monaghan twice securing a total of four points.
Again from a Derry City viewpoint, two short trips to Gortakeegan was welcomed at the start of the 2012 season but now the possibility of facing lengthy trips to Longford, Limerick or Waterford next term, will not be appreciated by the Brandywell club.
League Director, Fran Gavin, therefore, will have a few interesting discussions when he returns from Poland later today.
“We met with officials of Monaghan less than a month ago to get an update on where they were with their budget for the season. At that time there was absolutely no question of withdrawing from the league. This surprise announcement is very disappointing,” said Mr. Gavin.