The club was late registering for the new season and has been omitted as a result
Aughanagh Celtic say they are being punished for ‘one man’s’ mistake and are pleading with the Sligo Leitrim & District Soccer League to re-instate the club in the league for the 2022/23 season.
The Ballinafad side has been omitted from the league for the upcoming new season, after what they described as ‘an administrative error’ that could ‘end up having a detrimental effect’ on the club and local community.
And while the club wholly accepts that they are in the wrong, they are still asking the league to reconsider.
The leagues have been finalised, and both the Sligo Southern Hotel Super League and Sligo Pallets Premier League have 10 teams at the minute.
Aughanagh, who admit they were late submitting registration for the coming season, issued a plea to all clubs in the league to assist them.
A message distributed to clubs on Thursday morning said: “By not completing the application form for entry into the 2022/23 season we are being thrown out of the league - a league which we have contested for 46 consecutive seasons, with us currently being the 4th longest consecutive serving member of the super league.
"We as a club accept that we are in the wrong and did not submit our forms on time but we contacted the league just the next day after the deadline and explained that our secretary of the last 20 years who is not too proficient with a computer or a mobile phone had made an error and we apologised profusely.
"We also explained that for the last number of seasons we have asked to send any correspondence from the league to another address as well as our secretary's so a discrepancy like this would not occur which the league have duly done.
"We as a club feel that we are all being punished and that we cannot be held accountable for one man’s genuine mistake.”
Aughanagh, one of the league’s longest serving clubs, asked why ‘did the league think we weren’t going to enter this year and us just after completing a very successful FAI soccer camp on our club’s facilities?’
They added: “We never contacted the league to say we were not entering the league so why has the league taken this drastic measure of removing us from the league?
"We also have to wonder why - when no communication was being answered by our club secretary did the league not contact our PRO or our Chairman?
"Surely after 46 years of consecutive service and allegiance to the league we deserved a bit more respect than that and maybe any extra e-mail or phone call could have been forwarded to one of our members.
"Again I know the league has more to be doing than following up clubs in the league when their secretary does not reply to e-mails and phone calls but we have been a consistent mainstay of the league for 46 years.”
Aughanagh Celtic say they are well aware they are the ones in the wrong and are happy to accept whatever punishment ‘the league administers to us and just allows us back into the league to play football and provide some sport, fun and daily release of everyday problems for our community’.
The message went on to describe the club’s importance to the local community, particularly for the young people of the area.
"When we organised our soccer camp in the village of Ballinafad we contacted the FAI and asked if they would allow us to include some Ukrainian refugee children who are now residing in Ballinafad.
"While we were again late in submitting the forms, the FAI wholeheartedly backed us in including these Ukrainian children and making them feel welcomed in our community.
"We as a club felt proud of what we had done by including them and yet here we find ourselves being excluded.
"With numbers of Covid still rising, high living costs and people living with huge bills from mortgage increases to gas and fuel bills, sport now more than ever provides a great release for people especially our younger generation of adults.
"So how can we as a club explain to all these young people that this release from everyday life is being taken from them?
"Also in these times of financial hardship if our club are not allowed back into the league for a 47th consecutive year we will lose all our no claim bonuses on the players insurance which we pay yearly for them.
"We cover them on their way to the football match, playing the game and travelling home after it.
"We also run a club lotto and have sponsors which we would have to stop and decline their investments and believe me as PRO it is very hard to run a club lotto and have sponsors.
"So yes our club secretary made a mistake - a mistake which we as a club fully accept was made and are willing to accept but surely a whole community cannot be held accountable for this man's one error in over 46 years service to the Sligo Leitrim league.”
Aughanagh are asking for the support of other clubs in the league.