Avondale’s Micheál Mulconry spoke to Pundit Arena on Wednesday morning on behalf of the Avondale players, following the announcement that UCC had been awarded the 2013/14 MSL Premier Division title at an arbitration hearing in Dublin.
Micheál Mulconry, Avondale United
The blame has to fall at UCC’s door and the league’s door. It is the league’s job to organise the registration of players and ensure that players are registered correctly. I believe there’s a time period for for appealing against an ineligible player and I put the fault on UCC there, as I don’t believe they objected during those time frames.
The document says that the first time UCC found out about this was the 21st May, which I know for a fact is untrue. UCC are taking the line that rules are rules, but if rules are rules and UCC don’t appeal within the the time period then how are we allowed to ignore that particular time period?
We’re the ones to lose out, and I put the fault at the league’s door, but I don’t believe UCC are blameless in all this.
Cork is a small place and there were ramblings of appeals, so we contacted the Munster Senior League before our College Corinthians match and said, “Look there’s things flying around, are we the winner of the league or not?”.
We were ensured that we were the winners and we chose our team accordingly. When we beat Corinthians in the league the week before to go four points clear, we knew nothing of appeals then and we were assured we could not be caught. We celebrated accordingly; we were after winning the MSL and Intermediate Cup double three seasons in a row, which is just an unprecedented achievement.
We went celebrating as an amateur team would and I lived my life that week the way I never would in the middle of a season. On top of that, on the Friday we got word from the MSL saying we were champions.
Now you’d say we were naive not to get it in writing, but this is amateur sport, we’re an amateur club. Our chairman is a carpenter. We don;t think legally, so if someone gives us their word that’s good enough for us.
We played the UCC game with a number of changes, our goalkeeper Daniel O’Leary has probably one of the best records in world football. He’s lost just three games in three years and he was on the bench for that supposed ‘league decider’. Karl Caulfield, known as one of the best players in Cork, didn’t even try to get work off for it.
They were warming up when we arrived, and that would never happen. Looking back now it’s easy to say that we should have put in a bit effort, but that’s how we felt about it. it meant nothing. We were told by the league that we were four points clear and could not be caught and that’s the way we approached the game.
UCC applauded us on to the pitch, there was a guard of honour congratulating us on winning the league and then they go out and try to kick lumps out of us.
From that side of it, the sportsmanship of UCC just annoyed me.
We’re not legally minded at all, we think this is a travesty, an injustice. I don;t know what the next step is. Our lads feel so strongly about it they love the club, they love training, they love soccer. We love working in the muck for ten months to go and win a league. But the lads love it so much that there’s talks about pulling out of the league. That’s how strongly they feel about it.
One lad sent a text message saying, “I just can’t take it lads, I’m not playing anymore. What’s the point?”.
We beat Leeds. With all due respect, the player in question isn’t Lionel Messi, If UCC can’t go to Leeds, a team that were relegated, and beat them on the pitch and they have to go the route of trying to get points that they didn’t deserve then it’s wrong. Just go and beat Leeds!
Just go and beat Rockmount on the second last day of the season, instead of getting the solicitors to earn ye (UCC) points.
The galling thing is that it’s amateur sport. It should be decided on the pitch, not in courtrooms where whoever has the power and the money wins.
There’s only going to be one winner in all this and that’s the people with the power.
If I was a UCC player, I would be embarrassed to be called a league champion. There are two UCC players playing with us and it can’t be easy for them. They cringe when it’s brought up. One player in particular joined us because he was sick of coming second and in his mind he finished second with UCC last year.