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Pike gutted to lose FAI arbitration decision

PIKE ROVERS' involvement in the Munster Junior Cup (MJC) is now in serious doubt after their FAI Junior Cup arbitration appeal was turned down last week.

A spokesman for the Munster Football Association (MFA) said yesterday they would meet this week to discuss Pike's - who are through to the MJC semi final - involvement in the provincial tournament.

The MFA had previously said that they would "look at the composition" of the Pike team in the earlier rounds of the MJC following the FAI Senior Council's decision to effectively boot them out of the FAI Junior Cup.

Pike were in dispute with St Michael's, who they beat 4-2 in the quarter-finals of the FAI Junior Cup in March. Following that defeat, the Tipperary club lodged a protest with the FAI Junior Council.

The appeal was lodged on the grounds that six Pike players were ineligible. The appeal centered on the re-grading of players from League of Ireland clubs back to junior soccer.

The arbitration hearing was heard Wednesday in Abbotstown and the club were informed on Thursday that they had lost the appeal.

That arbitration decision arrived with Limerick soccer fans already up in arms because of the FAI's bizarre decision not to sanction a friendly between Limerick FC and La Liga giants FC Barcelona at Thomond Park in July.

It is estimated that that decision will cost the Mid-West Region up to €10 million.

Meanwhile, the arbitration decision could also impact on Pike Rovers position in their own Limerick District League as it is understood that a number of Limerick clubs are planning to lodge objections also.

Declan Considine, who manages the Pike A team along with Declan Casey, admitted that they were gutted at losing the arbitration hearing, which cost the club in the region of €8,000.

Considine, a former Irish junior international, indicated that the Limerick side felt they were morally in the right that they may not pursue the matter any further.

He said: "It could end up that this season never really existed for us at all. We are very disappointed with the decision from the arbitration hearing. Everyone in the club is affected by this decision.

"I feel sorry for the players and all the efforts they have put in this season, especially through the winter when we were one of the few clubs in any sport training. Pike Rovers deserve a lot more respect than this."

Bernard O'Neill