IFA have not had any communication from Crusaders after shoot out controversy

A controversial penalty shoot out in the Irish Cup semi final yesterday sent social media into meltdown, with the losing club seeking legal advice.

Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 2:56 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 3:04 pm
Crusaders keeper Jonathan Tuffey is sent off during a penalty shootout in the Irish Cup semi-final against Larne at Mourneview Park in Lurgan. Picture: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Fans took to Twitter and Facebook to discuss the laws of the game – and also rub salt in the wounds of Crusaders fans – after the Belfast club lost to Larne in a penalty shoot during which their goalkeeper was sent off after being adjudged to illegally come off his line three times.

Meanwhile Crusaders are pursuing legal action over the exit from the competition, the final of which takes place on Friday.

The club said: “Crusaders FC regret to announce that the club has tonight appointed counsel in relation to [yesterday’s] penalty shoot out at Mourneview Park.

“The club will expedite any actions as quickly as possible to minimise any disruption to the Peaky Blinders Irish Cup Final, but it should be noted that Crusaders FC will take whatever action necessary to remedy the current situation.

“Our actions are in no way directed at our friends at Larne Football Club.

“We owe it to our players, manager and backroom staff, members and supporters to take this action.”

The Irish Cup final between Larne and Linfield is due to take place on Friday.

The Irish Football Association were asked if Crusaders legal action could have implications for the showpiece.

A representative from the governing body said nothing has come their way from Crusaders, so they were not in a position to comment at this stage.

Trevor Moutray, head of refereeing at the IFA, said referee Shane Andrews made the right decision to send off Tuffey.

Many took to social media to comment on the remarkable events of the semi final shoot out between Larne and Crusaders at Mourneview Park.

Some Crues fans were aggrieved that the Larne goalkeeper was off his line for two of the penalties they missed, but because they were missed rather than saved, retakes were not ordered.

Chris Adams posted on Twitter: “Lads you need to draw a line under it. Then tell Tuffey to stand on it.”

Comedian Shane Todd wrote: “Within 20 seconds Crusaders keeper been sent off during a shoot out for coming off his line 3 times in a row so a player is in nets and BBC have lost their sound. IT’S THE IRISH LEAGUE BABY!”

The club’s official Twitter page suspended its live reporting when Tuffey was sent off, writing: “What has happened next is truely unbelievable. No further comment.”

After the semi final finished 1-1, Crusaders, who had Adam Lecky dismissed in normal time, saw goalkeeper Jonny Tuffey sent off in the shootout after the officials deemed he had come off his line as he saved from Andy Mitchell and Josh Robinson (twice).

Larne went on to win the tie after Billy Joe Burns replaced Tuffey in nets as Gary Thompson missed the crucial sudden death spot kick.

Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter labelled it a “very sad day for football”.

Tuffey told the BBC after the match his sending off was “the worst moment of my career”.