Thursday 23 November 2017

Blinkhorn calls for disciplinary changes over 'joke' final ban

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

MATTHEW BLINKHORN has branded his FAI Ford Cup final ban "a joke" and called for an overhaul of the League of Ireland's disciplinary system after it ruled two key Sligo Rovers players out of the Aviva Stadium showdown with Shamrock Rovers.

The English striker was horrified to learn last week that his fourth yellow card of the season -- picked up in Dundalk on October 9 -- will rule him out of the November showpiece.

Inspirational midfielder Richie Ryan also misses the big day because of accumulated bookings.

Blinkhorn cannot understand why the pair weren't punished immediately instead of the bans kicking in after the end of the league season.

"It's a joke really," said Blinkhorn. "Everyone I have spoken to has said it's a joke. It's in the Aviva Stadium, it's the cup final there, a massive game and to not play there is an absolute sickener.

"It should be that if you get four bookings, you miss the next game. If you get eight bookings, you miss the next two games. That's the way it works in other leagues. You don't get a booking on October 9 and wait until November 14 to dispense the punishment.

"It doesn't make sense; basically we're being punished because we have got one game extra. If we hadn't gotten to the Cup final, we would have been suspended for the first game of next season. I got banned for a game after the season's finished. That makes sense, doesn't it?"

Blinkhorn scored the opening goal on Friday as Paul Cook's men kept on course for European qualification with a win over UCD. Success over St Patrick's Athletic next Friday would wrap up third spot, while a draw would secure a place in the Europa League.

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