Institute's Liam Walsh doubtful for Newry City encounter

Institute head coach Brian Donaghey admitted his players were disappointed after they have been dumped out of the BetMcLean League Cup over player eligibility case.

Institute winger Liam Walsh is struggling with a knee problem and may miss tomorrow’s encounter against Newry City. Picture by George Sweeney

The Northern Ireland Football League (NIFL) stated that ’Stute defender Anthony Hargan had not been registered in accordance with League Cup rules.

“The case was considered by the NIFL League Cup Committee today (Wednesday 13 October) and has ruled that the player has not been registered in accordance with Rule 23 of the NIFL League Cup Rules 2021/22,” read NIFL’s statement.

“Therefore, in accordance with Rule 24 of the NIFL League Cup Rules 2021/22, Institute FC will be dismissed from the competition and the club losing the game in such circumstances (PSNI FC) shall replace the dismissed club and progress to the next round.

“The ineligibility has not impacted the outcome of any Lough 41 Championship matches.”

Donaghey felt the decision was harsh that they were dismissed from the competition.

“The players were disappointed because they were looking forward to playing at the national stadium, I think only two of the boys had ever played at Windsor Park against the top team in our country over the last four years, but no one is blaming anyone. It was a human clerical error, 20 days out on a birth certificate,” he explained.

“It was the right year and right month but it was a few days out and the decision is definitely harsh but listen the rules are there to be abided by and in this case whenever his registration was put through there was just a mistake on a keyboard, but I’m already over it and I hope the squad also are over it, I told them on Tuesday exactly what happened, so yes there was a tinge of disappointment but at the same time we have bigger fish to fry.

“It’s a competition we probably were never going to win but, yes it would have been nice to have had a benchmark to see how they would get on against a top team on a top surface and see how they cope with the surroundings and see what players man up and perform on the big stage, but if they keep on doing the right things, then these opportunities will arise again and that’s more or less the way I have left it with them.”

’Stute face title chasing Newry City, at the Ryan McBride Brandywell tomorrow (KO 3pm) and Donaghey is expecting a tough test.

“Newry were flying at the start of the season, I think they won their first six league games and they have been a wee bit iffy, but they are probably one of the top squads in the division,” he said.

“You have Ryan McGivern ex-Man City and Linfield, he won the league less than a year ago with Linfield. You have got young John McGovern, just back from playing against Spain and Russia for the Northern Ireland U21’s. Daniel Hughes, Mark Hughes, they are coming down with experienced players and they have a few young players coming through as well.

“Look Newry will definitely have aspirations to win the league this season, I have no doubt about that, but we are at home and I fully expect to give them a game and be very competitive on Saturday.”

Donaghey also confirmed that midfielder Liam Walsh and Shaun Doherty are doubtful.

“We have a few niggles, Liam Walsh, who was involved in the collision last week with Niall (Grace) and he’s struggling,” he added. “Shaun Doherty we obviously missed on Saturday, he has a bit of a groin strain. It happened in the last five minutes of training last Thursday night, so he’s on a race against time, but we’ll wait and see how things develop closer to Saturday.”