Easter option just one date on the table for rescheduled final

The scene at Lakeview Park on Boxing Day following the postponement of the Bob Radcliffe Cup final between Loughgall and Armagh City.
The scene at Lakeview Park on Boxing Day following the postponement of the Bob Radcliffe Cup final between Loughgall and Armagh City.

Mid-Ulster Football Association officials may opt for an Easter holiday date to stage this season’s Bob Radcliffe Cup final.

Negotiations remain open over a fresh date for the showpiece final postponed on Boxing Day due to a waterlogged pitch.

Loughgall and Armagh City finished frustrated at Lakeview Park on the holiday morning but referee Killian Kerr considered conditions a safety risk.

An emergency meeting was planned by MUFA representatives to review alternatives - with Easter Monday now the most logical option.

Loughgall go into this weekend’s programme with an Intermediate Cup tie against Moyola Park on the schedule but Armagh City face a free date.

Informal talks were held this week, with a number of options discussed, including one proposal for this weekend as a quickfire option.

That decision would have involved co-operation from Moyola and the Irish Football Association to reschedule the forthcoming cup match but it is understood that the process never progressed past a discussion.

The divisional association’s trophy highlight falls behind numerous national competitions in terms of priority, adding to the difficulty in securing a fresh date.

However, sources indicate both clubs remain keen to stage the final as quickly as possible and all options remain on the table.

“The referee, Killian Kerr, was adamant, absolutely sure the pitch was unsafe,” said a Mid-Ulster Football Association spokesman. “It is obviously disappointing for everyone but you cannot account for the weather.

“Everything remains under consideration and we have discussed a number of options.

“We want to try and give fans as much notice as possible to ensure a decent crowd and give everyone the opportunity to attend.”

The decision to cement Lakeview Park as the sole choice of venue without an alternative has been subject to debate in some quarters.

The idea of a switch to Armagh City’s Holm Park or Annagh United’s Tandragee Road, however, was not considered by the Mid-Ulster Football Association in keeping with the competition’s tradition.

“There was no contingency plan,” said a Mid-Ulster FA spokesman. “We made the choice of venue and have never added an alternative.

“It may be something we look into as a possible option for future finals.

“However, we have never done so in the past.”