Pundit Arena spoke to former Avondale manager John Ryan on Wednesday morning to get the club’s reaction to their Munster Senior League title being revoked and subsequently awarded to UCC.
Speaking to Richard Barrett, here’s what he had to say.
John Ryan, former Avondale Manager
I feel we won the league fair and square. We have done nothing wrong as a football club.
We beat College Corinthians on Sunday 18th of May. That put us four points ahead in the league with one match to go. On Sunday 18th of May, we were crowned league champions.
The following week we had three matches in seven days. We were playing College Corinthians again on Sunday 25th of May. We were due to play UCC in the last league game, which was meant to be a dead-rubber on Wednesday May 28th. On Sunday the 1st of June, we were playing Collinstown in the 2nd round of the FAI Cup in Dublin. Last game of the season.
The league said “yes, Avondale are league champions, that’s it”.
We had three games in a week so we rang the league again because we heard noises that UCC might appeal. We rang them on Friday 16th of May to reconfirm with their secretary that we were league champions, that there was no appeal lodged, and we could approach the week accordingly.
The league said “yes, Avondale are league champions, that’s it”. We asked them to state that the final league game with UCC regardless of the result, is a dead rubber. They said “yeah”.
We made six changes to our team and played two juniors for the UCC game. UCC were warming up an hour before the game, it was like a Champions League Final. There was something untoward happening.
They waited until they beat us and lodged an appeal
UCC came out and absolutely hockeyed us 4-1, but that was fine. It didn’t mean anything. We were presented with the cup after the game, that was it. We then went to Colinstown, played a strong team, won 2-0 and that was it. Season was over.
After UCC beat us on Wednesday May 28th, they launched an appeal on Thursday May 29th. They waited until they beat us and lodged an appeal the following day.
They went through the MSL, Munster Council, FAI and it got thrown out. Then they went went to the Sport of Arbitration with apparently half of the South Mall. We had our secretary.
For some reason, the Sport of Arbitration has justified giving the league to UCC. How can they take the league off of us when they told us and confirmed that we were champions?
What annoys me is how contrived and underhanded UCC were. They could have gotten an injunction for the game against us, said “lads, there’s something up here, we want a playoff”. We would have agreed. May the best team win.
But they didn’t do that, they waited for the game, beat us and then put in an appeal.
The next step is a boycott of the league. Other teams aren’t going to stand for this. UCC are meant to be a beacon of sport in Cork, well respected, and this is how they carry on. It’s hollow.
The MSL have handled it appallingly. They messed up originally. It wouldn’t have come to this if they handled it properly.
We would have agreed (on a playoff). May the best team win.
That’s our side of the story.
We’re being punished for UCC’s contrived underhand tactics. The only way we’re going to get anything back is through facts and figures. This isn’t over.
John Ryan, Avondale Manager.