LEAGUE CUP: Ballymena United v Cliftonville semi-final called off for third time

The much anticipated League Cup semi-final between Ballymena United and Cliftonville at the Showgrounds had to be postponed because of the freezing conditions on Tuesday night.

The match was called off just before 6pm after match referee Keith Kennedy carried out a pitch inspection.

Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey

This was after the playing surface had been deemed playable after a mid-afternoon inspection by another referee.

This is the third time that the match has been postponed as the tie was originally scheduled for December 12 but fell victim of the freezing conditions and was called off for the same reason on the second scheduled date on January 16.

United and the Reds would have up for the clash after both sides recorded good wins in the Irish Cup on Saturday.

United seeing off Ballinamallard United 4-3 on penalties after the game had finished 2-2 after extra-time.

The scene at the Ballymena Showgrounds

The Reds on the other hand had put league leaders Crusaders to the sword as they won their Cup encounter 4-1 - with striker Joe Gormley grabbing a hat-trick.

And Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey was gutted the game had been called off for a third time but he agrees the match official made totally the right call.

“It’s extremely frustrating and extremely disappointing but referee Keith Kennedy made absolutely the right decision.

“Certainly there is no way the pitch is playable and the referee owes a duty of care to the players. It was just too dangerous.

“We were drawn out of the hat first and any suggestion that this would be taken away from Ballymena is totally and utterly wrong.”

And Cliftonville boss Barry Gray thought the game should have been called off earlier in the day.

“Common sense tells me this was never going to be played tonight.

“The call could have been made today in the early afternoon and would have saved the cost and the impact to both teams.”

A new date for the game has yet to be revealed, but the final is scheduled to take place on Saturday 17 February.

Dungannon Swifts await the winners of the tie in the Windsor Park decider.

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