THE destination of this year’s MDL Premier Division title will be decided by the Leinster FA following Duleek AFC’s decision to appeal against an MDL committee ruling to dock them of three points for fielding a suspended player, Paul Martin, in the 1-0 win over Rock Celtic on April 28.
Duleek’s 4-2 win over deposed champions Woodview Celtic on Sunday means that Rock Celtic - who lodged the protest with the MDL - currently sit top of the table with 44 points.
The Rock Celtic squad were proclaiming themselves as league winners on Sunday night but if Duleek win their appeal, they will leapfrog ahead of the Seasiders and be crowned champions.
Speaking after Sunday’s victory over Woodview, Duleek boss Dave Rogers defended his side’s decision to play Martin in the game against the Rock and said that the finger of blame should be pointed firmly at the MDL.
“The last couple of weeks has been a bit of a fiasco”, he said. “It’s been admitted to us by people who are on the MDL committee that there was an administrative mistake, which is why our club secretary never received the proper documentation.
“If we don’t receive documentation through the right channels then that player (Martin) is available to play. The notification that the MDL did send went to the wrong person so we are being punished for somebody else’s mistake which doesn’t make sense.
“The powers that be and the legal representation we have will get on with the appeal now”, he added. “It could have been sorted out before this and common sense could have prevailed. It’s a pity because today should have been about Duleek and Woodview fighting for the title and not about the politics.”
Rogers said he was also disappointed by the reaction of other clubs involved in the matter saying that they were in no position to comment as they weren’t fully aware of the facts.
“This is the first time I’ve said anything publicly about this. We’ve sat back while other people have been mouthing off and shouting but we won that game (v Rock) fair and square.
“Myself and Tony Grant (Rogers’ assistant) have been in the game long enough to go and play a suspended player, under his real name with a title to play for. We’re not that stupid.
“The lads we have at Duleek and the lads involved in the league are giving it their all. It’s bread and butter football but it’s only enjoyable when it’s done the right way, not only from our end but from other ends. That’s what has been disappointing in the last few weeks.”
Sunday’s victory means that Woodview Celtic’s hopes of landing a third successive MDL Premier Division title are over.
Rogers was part of the Woodview squad the lifted three trophies last season and even though the Dundalk side will finish this season without any silverware, he said they were still the barometer for every side in the Meath and District League.
“Woodview are a great bunch of lads. I had the time of my life last year winning the treble with them. I’m disappointed for them but we had to go about things the right way.
“I’ve used them all season as to where our Duleek team need to be to be a success”, he added.
“They have the best team spirit in the MDL and Gavin McKeever has done a great job with them. They’ll bounce back because that is what they’re made of.”
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