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Blues appeal over Rafter

WATERFORD United have launched a bid to have the result of their promotion/relegation play-off rescinded by claiming that Dundalk's two-goal hero Michael Rafter was ineligible to play.

Rafter's brace in last Friday's 2-0 win over Waterford at the RSC gave the Lilywhites a 4-2 aggregate success and guaranteed their Premier Division survival.

The Munster side's protest and €500 fee arrived at FAI headquarters in Abbotstown yesterday and they claim Dundalk broke rule 34 which states that amateur players must transfer before January 31.

Waterford maintain Rafter played for St Michael's AFC of Tipperary in an FAI Junior Cup tie against Sherrif YC, scoring the opening goal in a 2-1 defeat.

Rafter's transfer to the Louth club was announced on February 21.

If Waterford's appeal is upheld it would mean that Rafter should not have lined out for Dundalk last week. Dundalk are confident that the deal was above board.

If Rafter was signing on an amateur basis, he would have to sign in January, but if he moved on a professional contract, the deal would have to have been concluded by February 22.

It is understood that the paperwork on the deal was received by the FAI well in advance of this deadline.

Meanwhile, Dundalk have decided not to renew the contract of manager Darius Kierans.

The Louth club endured a miserable season winning just four games and finishing bottom of the Airtricity League Premier Division table.

The statement read: "After an end of season review by the new board of management at Dundalk Football Club, the club has made a decision not to renew the contract of Darius Kierans for the 2013 season.

"This was a very difficult decision as Darius has carried out his duties in a very professional manner and has shown high levels of professionalism and dedication to the difficult task of keeping Dundalk in the Premier Division. We have no doubt that Darius has a long career in professional football ahead of him."


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