'Tragedy that could have been avoided'
THE winding up of Cork City FC was confirmed in the High Court yesterday, with the future of senior football on Leeside dependent on a new team led by supporters group FORAS being organised for a First Division campaign by next week.
After the FAI's decision to refuse the existing Cork side a Premier Division licence on Monday evening, the end was inevitable with the interested consortium of businessmen who were ready to take over from Coughlan pulling out at that juncture, as their involvement was conditional on top-flight status being assured.
They blame Coughlan for the club's collapse, with the embattled owner even talking about pursuing appeal options in the Supreme Court although he has been advised that there is little point.
Justice Mary Laffoy refused an appeal from Coughlan's team for a further 48-hour stay on the winding up order so they could endeavour to find the €163,000 needed to pay the Revenue who brought the latest petition to the High Court. Coughlan's representatives suggested that the owner himself could even be prepared to enter the witness box and explain his situation.
However, Justice Laffoy said she had given the club "more leeway than any other business" in this position and added that there was no reason to suggest that Revenue would get its money within 48 hours. Karl Dillon was confirmed as liquidator.
Businessmen Peter Gray, Michael O'Connell and financial advisors Quintas, who were ready to assume control from Coughlan until it became clear that a licence could not be granted, will discuss with FORAS whether they can contribute to a new era after indicating that the consortium would like to work together again.
"We would like to express our deep frustration and anger resulting from our failed attempt to rescue Cork City FC from being wound up in the High Court," they said, earlier,
"This is a real tragedy that could have so easily been avoided."