Pembroke in the clear as Mossley drop eligibility query

PEMBROKE WANDERERS are free to concentrate on their quest for an Irish Senior and Junior Cup double this weekend after Mossley chose not to take an eligibility query any further.

The Ulster club had questioned the eligibility of Pembroke’s South African import Vaughan Erasmus — who played and scored in Pembroke’s 6-0 quarter-final win at The Glade in February.

Earlier this week, the Irish Hockey Association (IHA) decided not to sanction Pembroke, citing miscommunication on their part to clubs regarding eligibility rules and deeming Pembroke’s breach of the rules “an unintentional and genuine error”.

While Erasmus was correctly registered for national competitions, visa problems delayed his arrival in Ireland from November until January. As he had not played for Pembroke prior to December 31 last year, he was not eligible to play, and has not appeared for Pembroke on the national stage since his sole appearance against Mossley.

The national body yesterday revealed that following a meeting with IHA chief executive Angus Kirkland and the competitions chair, Mossley will not take their query any further.

An IHA statement added: “Mossley HC has acted entirely honourably in this matter, seeking only clarity on the issue, and has at no time sought for penalties or action against Pembroke.”

Pembroke can therefore put their energies into today’s IJC showdown against Cork C of I and tomorrow’s senior decider against Cookstown.

Nonetheless, it remains to be seen whether Glenanne or Cookstown have anything to say on the matter, given a EuroHockey League place is on the line.

Glens lost to Pembroke in the ISC semi-finals, while Cookstown could arguably have a grievance if they are on the losing side tomorrow.

The IHA will surely be hoping they have heard the last of the issue, having endured a difficult season on the administration side of things, regarding cancelled and abandoned matches at interprovincial and Irish Hockey League level due to adverse weather.

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