Trinity’s footballers are embroiled in dispute after their controversial exit from the Collingwood Cup this week, with a floodlight blackout allowing their last-16 opponents, Maynooth University, to equalise in the dying minutes of a game they subsequently won on penalties.
DUAFC are planning to appeal for a replay to the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) following the decision of the match referee not to disallow Maynooth’s 92nd-minute equaliser despite 13 of the pitch’s 18 floodlights going dark just seconds before the goal was scored.
After the goal – which levelled the scores at 2-2 – was scored, both sets of players waited 10 minutes for the floodlights to be turned on. The game then progressed to extra time and subsequently a penalty shoot-out, which Maynooth won 3-1.
DUAFC’s initial appeal for a replay, addressed to the Irish Universities Football Union (IUFU), was denied. An email sent by IUFU Honorary Secretary Brendan Dillon to DUAFC, obtained by The University Times, said the request for a replay was denied because “the IUFU has no jurisdiction to deal with any issue arising from the referee’s decision to allow Maynooth’s second goal stand”.
In response, DUAFC President Raymond O’Malley said DUAFC’s request “did not request the IUFU or its Executive Committee to review and or overturn a decision of the referee in respect of Maynooth’s second goal or any other decision of the referee during the match”.
DUAFC, O’Malley wrote, “sought a replay of the match in the interest of natural justice and the sporting integrity of the Collingwood Cup 2019”.
O’Malley requested records of “all deliberations by the IUFU that lead to its decision and response to our protest” as well as the referee’s report of the match.
“It is deeply regrettable that the IUFU has no acceded to our reasonable sporting request”, he added.
In an email statement to The University Times, DUAFC captain Ronan Hanaphy said: “It’s clear that our protest won’t go anywhere because, at the end of the day, Maynooth are a more ‘valuable’ team to have at the Collingwood than Trinity in the minds of the IUFU and FAI.”
“They would rather have their precious League of Ireland players there than a group of predominantly amateur players who actually care and would give anything to go and represent their university with pride”, he said.
“To us the Collingwood Cup means more but to them it’s about their ‘#smartestleagueintheworld’ image with the showcasing of League of Ireland players who also attend university.”
The Collingwood Cup is taking place in the University of Limerick (UL) on February 4th. DUAFC have until Tuesday, January 29th, to submit an appeal by registered post, leaving little time for a hearing or any action to be taken by the FAI.