SETANTA CUP PREVIEW: Corcoran out to expand tournament as it enters 10th edition

Padraig Whelan

Reporter:

Padraig Whelan

SETANTA CUP PREVIEW: Corcoran out to expand tournament as it enters 10th edition
Although the Setanta Cup is not without its detractors, Committee Chairman, Milo Corcoran, believes that it does have a future within the domestic game.

Although the Setanta Cup is not without its detractors, Committee Chairman, Milo Corcoran, believes that it does have a future within the domestic game.

The competition has been criticised in recent years with Cliftonville and Linfield pulling out of this year’s tournament. The Belfast clubs said that the scheduling of games in spring as their league season reaches its conclusion and “a much reduced prize fund” which has shrunk from €350,000 in 2005 to €73,000 this season as reasons for their withdrawal.

However, Corcoran is looking at ways to breathe new life into the tournament with expansion being among them.

He argued: “The Setanta Cup is an innovative competition by its very nature and we are constantly looking at ways to improve it.

“With 2015 marking the 10th year of the competition, the Tournament Committee will look at ways to improve it over the coming weeks.

“One of the ideas on the table is to have 12 teams, six from each league, with league and cup winners from each Association entering in the second round.”

Plans are for the first two rounds to be one-legged affairs and drawn on a north v south basis with the latter rounds following the current format although they would look to stage the semi-finals on a Saturday, as with the final.

On the timing issue, he offered a suggestion that the league north of the border could potentially consider extending its season.

“I believe with co-operation we can find a suitable place in the calendar, especially if the Irish League is willing to extend its league a few weeks further into May.”