Glentoran chief Stephen Henderson fears death knell may have sounded on Setanta Sports Cup

Glentoran and Shamrock Rovers in last year's Setanta Sports Cup
Glentoran and Shamrock Rovers in last year's Setanta Sports Cup

Glentoran chairman Stephen Henderson fears for the future of the Setanta Sports Cup after this year’s event was shelved.

It was confirmed on Wednesday that the 2015 running of the all-Ireland competition had been cancelled after suitable fixture dates could not be agreed.

Glenavon and Crusaders had both raised concerns over the prospect of playing midweek quarter-finals at the end of June.

Last week’s draw was postponed as organisers looked to find alternative arrangements, and now this year’s competition itself has been shelved.

Milo Corcoran, Chairman of the Setanta Sports Cup committee, hopes the all-Ireland tournament can be resurrected next year.

But Glens chief Henderson – whose side was due to play this year – believes the death knell may have sounded on the competition.

“I would hope there is a future for the Setanta Cup, but I am not so sure now,” Henderson said.

“I thought this year’s format was one of the best yet, but there still appear to be problems for some clubs.

“I don’t know what magic pill can be found for next year. There will always be pros and cons to an event of this nature. It involves two separate football leagues, with overlapping seasons, so there will always be problems.

“But we as a club are deeply frustrated that this year’s competition has been cancelled.”

Crusaders, Glenavon, Portadown and Glentoran were set to represent the IFA this year, with League of Ireland clubs Dundalk, St Patrick’s Athletic, Cork City and Shamrock Rovers featuring under the FAI banner.

Meanwhile, Henderson has no doubts that Eddie Patterson will be in charge of Glentoran come the start of next season.

Doubts have been cast over Patterson’s future at The Oval after the manager revealed there were a number of off-field issues that needed resolved before he could commit to the club.

“We are having ongoing discussions with Eddie, but we are preparing for next season with Eddie in charge,” Henderson said.

“Any discussions I have had with Eddie will remain in-house, but we are looking forward to working with the manager and his backroom staff over the summer and next season.

“There are a number of issues being discussed, including a new deal for Eddie and the transfer kitty at his disposal. But I don’t foresee any major problems.”