Crusaders take action after Irish Cup defeat by Larne
Crusaders Football Club have appointed counsel following Tuesday’s controversial penalty shootout defeat to Larne in the Irish Cup semi-final.
After the game finished 1-1 the Crues, who had Adam Lecky dismissed in normal time, saw goalkeeper Jonny Tuffey sent off in the shootout after the officials deemed he had come off his line as he saved from Andy Mitchell and Josh Robinson.
Larne went on to win the tie after Billy Joe Burns replaced Tuffey in nets as Gary Thompson missed the crucial sudden death spot kick.
Boss Stephen Baxter labelled it a “very sad day for football”. And last night following Linfield’s victory over Ballymena United in the second semi-final the Seaview club issued a statement saying they would “take whatever action necessary to remedy the current situation”.
The statement read: “Crusaders FC regret to announce that the club has tonight appointed counsel in relation to today’s penalty shoot out at Mourneview Park.
“The club will expedite any actions as quickly as possible to minimise any disruption to the Peaky Blinders Irish Cup Final, but it should be noted that Crusaders FC will take whatever action necessary to remedy the current situation.
“Our actions are in no way directed at our friends at Larne Football Club.
“We owe it to our players, manager and backroom staff, members and supporters to take this action.”
With the final less than 72 hours away it remains to be seen what will happen.
Speaking to BBC Sport after the game Baxter said: “When the Larne team comes and apologises to you for how we’ve lost this game, it’s a sad day for football.
“To put players out of an Irish Cup final, and put players out of their careers that have spanned 10 or 15 years, they may never get another chance to play in an Irish Cup final.
“I’m embarrassed for the refereeing fraternity because I think they will look at it and think it’s not good.”
The Irish FA said referee Shane Andrews made the correct decision.
Trevor Moutray, head of refereeing at the Irish Football Association, said at the coin toss ahead of the shootout, referee Andrews asked both captains to remind their respective goalkeepers “that when the ball is struck that part of the goalkeeper’s foot must be on the goal line. The match referee also reinforced this message to each goalkeeper before the penalty kick sequence started.”
Moutray added: “Larne scored their first two penalties - but after the second the match referee warned the Crusaders goalkeeper about moving off his line. When he did this on the next penalty, he received a formal warning. He did it again and received a yellow card, and then again which resulted in a second yellow card and a red card.
“Throughout the penalty kicks the match officials accurately and correctly applied the Laws of the Game, and they sought to proactively manage the penalty kicks in an effective way.
“With the balance of hindsight, perhaps the match referee could have issued a last and final public warning to the Crusaders goalkeeper, but it is unclear whether this would have had the desired effect as previous informal and formal warnings had not been effective.”