The most recent development in the Derrychara United versus Tummery Athletic Mulhern Cup tie unfolded on Thursday morning last when Derrychara Utd posted a statement on the club’s Facebook page saying they had withdrawn from the Mulhern Cup.
“It has been brought to our attention that our recent appeal against Tummery Athletic in the Mulhern cup was in fact out of order, which has been confirmed to us.”
As a result, the club said they “came to the decision that we would withdraw from the Mulhern Cup immediately, this probably would have been the decision taken anyway by the IFA or if the appeal was to be returned to the Fermanagh and Western Association.”
On February 12, Tummery and Derrychara could not be separated at the end of normal time, forcing extra time to be played. Referee Martin Crawford is reported to have been asked as the game entered extra time how many substitutes could in total be made and he informed the teams four.
In this knowledge, Tummery Athletic proceeded to make a fourth change but the rules of the Mulhern Cup clearly state that a team “may use three substitute players at any time in a match”, unlike in a Junior Cup tie where you can use an additional replacement once the game goes to extra time.
Mulhern Cup holders Tummery won the game 3-2 but following an appeal by Derrychara, which was upheld, Tummery was expelled from the competition on the basis that they used four subs and didn’t adhere to the rules of the competition.
In a twist of fate though, that very appeal has in fact resulted in their Cup run being over, as it has emerged that the protest wasn’t signed.
Fermanagh and Western secretary, Neil Jardine, confirmed the news of Derrychara’s withdrawal and clarified the situation, saying;
“The letter wasn’t signed and as part of the ruling it says the letter must be submitted and signed by the club secretary or in their absence the club chairman. The protest was out of order and shouldn’t have been dealt with and that’s my fault.
“Everybody made a mistake, the referee made a mistake by telling Tummery they could make four subs, Tummery made a mistake by using the fourth sub, Derrychara made a mistake by submitting a protest without signing and I made a mistake by accepting a protest that wasn’t signed.”
While Derrychara has now withdrawn, Tummery are still out but awaiting their appeal to be heard so the second round tie with Mountjoy is still up in the air.
“As far as Tummery’s appeal to the IFA, it doesn’t change anything at all. They are still appealing that they shouldn’t have been put out because the referee told them that they could play four subs, that’s still the pertinent issue so, the appeal will go ahead, albeit they might look at it slightly differently as to how they adjudicate on it.”
The Tummery appeal could take until the end of March to reach its conclusion, with written submissions underway, the first of which was due to be submitted yesterday (Tuesday) from the Fermanagh and Western Association to the IFA.
There are three outcomes on the table, the first that Tummery’s appeal is upheld and they are reinstated, the second that it is rejected and they remain expelled and the third, the matter is returned to the Fermanagh and Western to be re-heard which probably “on the balance of it most likely because we acted incorrectly at the start” says Jardine.
“Although we may have made the correct decision and put them (Tummery) out , the mechanism by which it was done through the Derrychara protest was incorrect, so they (IFA) will say go back and review the evidence based on that but not on Derrychara’s protest and then the Fermanagh and Western would reconvene and make a decision on it then, which becomes the binding decision.”
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