WHAT was supposed to be a massive game between the big two of Crettyard and New Oak in the Douglas Jewellers Carlow Cup semi-final was postponed last night in bizarre circumstances, after the pitch in Crettyard was adjudged to not have been marked properly by match referee Mick Monaghan. With the game due to kick off at 6.45pm, the club was given an extra 15 minutes to ensure that the pitch was marked properly but by 7pm, there was no sign of any marking being completed with nobody knowing where the keys were to the marker shed, so the referee deemed the pitch unplayable and the game could not go ahead.
Crettyard manager, Peter Donnelly, said that he was as disappointed as anybody as he felt optimistic about their chances in the game.
“We’re as disappointed as everybody else at the end of the day. I’m sure people have their opinions, comments were made towards one of my coaches, calling him a coward, implying that we had somehow instigated this. I’d never wish anyone ill or harm, we’re all human, a human error was made. I’ve always been straight and honest in everything I do, especially football. The pitch was marked out, the referee obviously deemed that it wasn’t marked efficiently. What was relayed back to me was that the penalty spots needed to be redone. We were running around frantically trying to resolve it but we couldn’t resolve it in time. I’ve no interest in pointing fingers, because we’re all human and we all make mistakes. I am really really hurting, I was feeling quite optimistic, we know we’ve been nip and tuck on several occasions with New Oak. Where you get to a stage where it’s small margins making the difference, that’s where you wanna be. Hats off to New Oak for achieving what they’ve achieved though. I’d love to be the one to thwart them, as would everyone else in the league.”
New Oak supporters, players and management were quite visibly frustrated with the outcome, with many having had to book time off work or make arrangements to be able to play in the midweek fixture. Manager Gavin Dowling said that he was surprised at the situation.
“I’m surprised to be honest, I’ve been going to Crettyard for the guts of 30 years, and I’ve never seen anything like it. Both pitches were in great order and they knew an hour beforehand that it wasn’t marked properly but there was no rush for anybody to get it done. Martin Rice was there, several members of the Crettyard committee were there too but there was no urgency to get it done. That makes me think there was an ulterior motive there, whether it was a ploy to get guys back from injuries or what I don’t know, we also weren’t available this weekend which they knew too.”
“We got to choose the date for the game so if it was a double bluff on their part, we’re calling them on it by playing the game tonight. The motivation is clear though, we’re two matches away from another quadruple and it’s important that we stay focused. We have home advantage and we need to take advantage of that and make the most of it.”
Carlow League Secretary, Brian O’Reilly said that the rules are clear, that since the pitch was deemed unplayable, the fixture will be reversed and be played in New Oak tonight (Thursday) with a 6.45pm kick-off.
By Harry Shorthose