Mervyn Smyth quits in wake of County Antrim Shield final criticism

Referee Mervyn Smyth
Mervyn Smyth sent-off Paul Heatley during the first half of the County Antrim Shield decider

Referee Mervyn Smyth has announced his retirement with immediate effect in the wake of criticism of his performance in Tuesday's County Antrim Shield final.

Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter branded Smyth's dismissal of Paul Heatley in the 3-1 defeat by Linfield as "an embarrassment".

The 41-year-old confirmed his intention to quit on Thursday.

The Belfast official has taken charge of fixtures in the Europa League and at under-age international level.

Smyth was temporarily stood down from Premiership duty in 2014 for a display that the Northern Ireland Football League said "fell below the expected standard".

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Linfield beat Crusaders in County Antrim Shield final

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