Council ‘hugely frustrated’ by Ballymena pitch woes

The Co Antrim Shield final has fallen foul of unsuitable pitch conditions. Credit: Presseye

Mid and East Antrim Council has said the condition of the pitch at Ballymena Showgrounds – which has led to the postponement of the Co Antrim Shield final – is “hugely frustrating”.

The big game between Crusaders and Linfield was due to be played at 7.45pm on Tuesday, but will now have to be rearranged due to a waterlogged pitch.

It comes after Ballymena’s scheduled Irish Cup sixth round clash with Portadown at the weekend also had to be postponed because the pitch was frozen.

Wet weather since then has not improved matters and, following a pitch inspection at 2.30pm on Tuesday, the planned evening game was called off.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Mid and East Antrim Council said: "We are extremely disappointed and hugely frustrated by the condition of the playing surface at Ballymena Showgrounds.

"We have launched a full investigation into the current issues in order to find a long-term solution.

"We want the pitch at the Showgrounds to be among the very best in Northern Ireland and we are committed to ensuring we will deliver this for the people of Mid and East Antrim, and the football fraternity.

"The current situation is totally unacceptable, and we apologise unreservedly for the disruption caused."