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Bohemians withdraw from Irn-Bru Cup after game called off

The Irish side say rearranging a postponed game was "a logistical nightmare".

Scottish Challenge Cup trophy sponsored by Irn-Bru
SNS Group

Bohemians have pulled out of this season's Irn-Bru Cup at the quarter final stage after they were unable to find a time to play a re-arranged game.

The last eight tie against East Fife was to have taken place on Saturday but was called off seven minutes before kick-off due to a frozen pitch.

Talks took place between Bohemians, the FAI, tournament organisers the SPFL and East Fife in the hopes of finding a date to play the match.

However, with the semi-final for the winner scheduled to place against Ross County in 11 days' time, and Bohemians' league season about to begin, no date could be agreed and the team have withdrawn from the competition, letting East Fife progress to the last four.

Bohemian FC spokesperson Luke O'Riordan said: "The postponement of Saturday's quarter-final against East Fife at Dalymount Park presented both clubs and both associations with a logistical nightmare.

"We deeply regret having to withdraw from the competition but feel that, given that the semi-final is due to take place in 11 days' time, the logistical and time constraints involved in trying to reschedule our quarter-final tie before then was an impossible task and leave us with no other option.

"With little scope to find an alternative date that suited both clubs and following discussions between our club's board and the first-team management about the distracting effect ongoing disruption could have on preparations for the new league season, we agreed that we have to prioritise that and thus regrettably withdraw from the tournament.

"As a club, we have been grateful for our inclusion in the IRN-BRU Cup despite the logistical challenges it has presented. Our supporters have enjoyed the camaraderie of the occasions of visiting Peterhead and of hosting Sutton United in previous rounds.

"These were memorable and unique days for our players and fans alike and it is of deep regret that Saturday did not provide us with yet another one against East Fife. We wish them all the best for the remainder of the competition."

The other three quarter-finals were played in November, with Connah's Quay Nomads, Ross County and Edinburgh City progressing. The Bohemians v East Fife tie was scheduled for a later date after discussions with all parties.

O'Riordan said: "We have done our best to accommodate this fixture, offering to extend our 2018 season into November and, when no suitable date could be found then, we agreed to start our 2019 season two weeks earlier to host the game on Saturday. It is of enormous regret that despite these efforts, the tie never took place."

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: "We are grateful to Bohemian FC and to the FAI for their cooperation and assistance in ensuring the smooth conclusion of this year's IRN-BRU Cup. We look forward to welcoming our Irish friends to next season's competition."

East Fife FC Chairman Jim Stevenson said: "We all enjoyed the hospitality shown by our new friends at the weekend but were disappointed that we could not get the game played. We wish Bohemians every success in their 2019 season and look forward to continuing our own still competing in three competitions."

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