FOOTBALL: Premiership play-off postponed over Haveron eligibility concerns

Carrick manager Gary Haveron. Photo: Presseye
Carrick manager Gary Haveron. Photo: Presseye

The Northern Ireland Football League (NIFL) has postponed the second leg of the relegation / promotion play-off between Ballinamallard United and Institute over an eligibility issue relating to Carrick boss Gary Haveron’s recent touchline ban.

It is understood the Warrenpoint Town sought ‘information and an update’ from NIFL around what it described as ‘media speculation surrounding Carrick Rangers’.

As exclusively revealed by the Carrick Times on Saturday night, the Taylor’s Avenue outfit could be facing the prospect of relegation over manager Haveron’s recent suspension.

The Irish Football Association sidelined Haveron for three matches and fined the club £100 after he was ordered from the dugout in the 4-3 win over Crusaders in March.

He served an automatic next-game suspension against Glentoran (March 26), before sitting out two further matches at home to Ballymena United (April 16) and Portadown (April 19).

However, the Irish FA had stated that after the Glentoran match the further two-game ban commenced on Monday, April 18. Haveron was in the technical area during the 3-1 win at Dungannon Swifts (April 23).

Carrick could potentially be left to face losing the points from the victory at Stangmore Park and, as a consequence, drop to the Irish League’s second tier.

A statement issued by NIFL at lucnchtime on Monday read: “The Northern Ireland Football League Premiership fixtures sub-committee have today to consider information received regarding eligibility matters and agreed, as a precaution, to postpone tomorrow’s Ballinamallard United v Institute play-off second leg until guidance requested from the IFA has been received.”

Whitey Anderson’s Ballinamallard won Friday’s first leg of the play-off 2-1 at the Riverside Stadium.

Carrick consolidated their top-flight status in spectacular fashion on the final day of the season with a dramatic, last-gasp win over Ballinamallard.

Any decision to deduct points would have major consequences for the Gers, while Warrenpoint Town would face a play-off and Ballinamallard United would be guaranteed Premiership football again next term.

Carrick Rangers are understood to be awaiting news of any potential action.