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*Photograph: Cealtra Communications

SPORTING ENNISTYMON are to lodge an appeal after they were deducted seven points in the Maloney Hardware Premier Division and issued a financial penalty by the Clare District Soccer League, The Clare Echo has learned.

A virtual meeting of CDSL officers on Monday evening saw the committee vote to deduct seven points from Sporting Ennistymon following objections from three clubs in the Premier Division over the fielding of a player who did not have an international transfer certificate.

As a result of the decision, Avenue Utd move to top of the Premier Division, they had drawn with Sporting 1-1 in Roslevan for the second time this season but have picked up an extra two points subsequently which pushes them one point ahead of title holders Newmarket Celtic.

Ennis Town FC were also awarded two points having drawn with Sporting. This sees them move to fifth position on the table. Mountshannon Celtic were the first club to raise the matter, their appeal to the Munster FA was upheld by the CDSL and they received three extra points.

Sources within Sporting Ennistymon have told The Clare Echo they will be appealing the position and voiced their disappointment that they first became aware of the CDSL’s decision when reading The Clare Echo. The North Clare club moved from fifth place to third from bottom (8th) in the table, one spot above Shannon Olympic and are now dragged into a potential relegation play-off.

June 1st is believed to be the provisional date for the title-deciding clash between Avenue Utd and Newmarket Celtic in the Premier Division, days after they meet in the Banner Carpets and Flooring Clare Cup final. An appeal from Sporting Ennistymon runs the risk of a delay to the conclusion of this season, however a win for Mark O’Malley’s Celtic in this game to be played in Roslevan would see Newmarket retain the title regardless.

Tensions among CDSL officials also remain tetchy with the committee’s WhatsApp group believed to have become lively on Monday evening when The Clare Echo broke the story on Avenue going to the top spot following the meeting.

Representatives of clubs in the county expressed their dissatisfaction to The Clare Echo with the key decision makers in the CDSL potentially seeing their own clubs benefit as a result of Monday’s meeting. Registrar Eddie Crowe of Sporting Ennistymon is understood to have excused himself from the meeting due to a conflict of interest.

Extra points were awarded to Avenue Utd with Child Welfare Officer, Tommy Molloy part of the committee while both the secretary Denis Collins and treasurer Tony Downey are members of Ennis Town FC who also secured extra points. Shannon Olympic, the club of PRO Jim Madden are second from bottom in the relegation battle while Kilrush Rangers, the club of Chairman Jason Ryan are likely to be involved in for a playoff for promotion to the Premier Division. Newmarket Celtic’s Alan McCoy a member of the committee was said to be very vocal at the meeting questioning the decision to give the points.

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