Irish Cup semi-final postponed because of Ballymena appeal

Alan Davidson
Alan Davidson scored the winning goal for Ballymena against Newry

Ballymena United's appeal against their expulsion from the Irish Cup has led to the postponement of the scheduled semi-final between Newry City and Linfield.

The Braidmen beat Newry in the quarter-finals but were thrown out of the competition after an appeals board ruled that striker Alan Davidson had been ineligible for the game.

The semi-final between Dungannon and Crusaders will go ahead on 31 March.

However, the other semi-final scheduled for the same day is now on hold.

The competition has now been left in a degree of disarray by Ballymena's latest appeal.

A Ballymena statement said that it has received "no explanation" as to why the IFA's initial decision was changed.

Last week, the Irish FA's cup committee rejected Newry's initial protest, despite the Championship club pointing out that Ballymena had signed Davidson after the 31 January deadline.

However, on Monday night the IFA's Appeals Board overturned that ruling.

Davidson, who joined Ballymena in February, scored the winner when United beat Newry 2-1 in the quarter-finals.

A statement from the association read: "After a lengthy and detailed consideration of the submissions made by Newry City and the IFA Challenge Cup Committee, the Appeals Board unanimously upheld the appeal of Newry and found that Ballymena United's Alan Davidson was not eligible to play in the match. Newry City are therefore reinstated into the 2012 JJB Sports Irish Cup."

When the original protest by Newry was turned down, the Challenge Cup committee said it was felt the cup's rules had to be read in parallel with the IFA Premiership Rules and Fifa regulations covering the status and transfer of players.

Davidson's registration with his previous club, Glenavon, was cancelled on 3 January and Ballymena registered him on 28 February.