A shadow has been cast over the future of the cross-border Setanta Sports Cup following confirmation of this summer’s cancellation by the organisers.
Portadown, Glenavon, Glentoran and Crusaders were expected to represent the Danske Bank Premiership in quarter-final ties against sides from the Republic of Ireland proposed for June.
However, concerns increased following news of disagreements over dates and the decision to cancel the recent draw.
“Over recent months, we have been trying to find dates that can work for the broadcaster, the IFA clubs and the FAI clubs,” said Milo Corcoran, chairman of the Setanta Sports Cup committee. “Unfortunately, despite the best of intentions, it has not been possible to do so, even if I felt we were close to achieving agreement with all of the clubs required at one stage.
“Despite the setback, I believe this competition has a lot to offer.
“It is my hope that with time over the coming year, we will find a solution in 2016.
“I take this opportunity to thank Setanta Sports for their partnership and support for the competition, and all of the clubs who have made efforts to work together.”
Dundalk, Shamrock Rovers, St Pat’s Athletic and Cork City were scheduled to represent the League of Ireland.
“With the differing winter and summer seasons, it has been increasingly difficult for the committee to find dates that work for clubs north and south,” said Brian Quinn, marketing operations director at Setanta Sports. “Having discussed it with them, we all felt it was best to break for this year.
“However, we will remain in contact with the committee over the coming year to see if it is possible to find an agreed format and dates that can work across both leagues in 2016.
“The cup is an important part of Setanta’s commitment to Irish soccer along with our coverage of Republic of Ireland home friendlies, under 21 games, women’s senior team games, as well as the EA Sports Cup final, SSE Airtricity games plus Northern Ireland internationals.”