Kirby begins serving six-game penance
The Holy Cross Kirby Group Crusaders won Wednesday, moving into first place in Molson Challenge Cup soccer standings, but they did so without head coach Mike Kirby, who has been suspended for six games for verbal abuse of a referee.
Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association (NLSA) men’s vice-president and Challenge Cup commissioner Gord Dunphy told The Telegram Kirby was notified of the suspension and had the opportunity to appeal.
However, Kirby told The Telegram, “I will not be appealing.”
When asked if he believes the suspension was warranted, Kirby said: “No comment.”
The suspension stems from an incident following the Challenge Cup game between longtime rivals Holy Cross and St. Lawrence Labatt Laurentians at Centennial Field Saturday.
According to Dunphy, who chaired the disciplinary committee, the Holy Cross coach was “verbally abusive” to referee Mike Howlett following the game.
There were seven yellow cards handed out, including four to Holy Cross players, in the match which ended in a 3-3 draw.
Dunphy said there was a “major issue” at the end of the game in which the Holy Cross coach used “persistent verbal abuse” towards the official as outlined in Rule 24.
The rule covers “persistent offensive or insulting language and/or abusive gestures directed at a game official.”
The key word is “persistent,” according to Dunphy.
If Kirby had decided to appeal the suspension, the matter would have gone to a different committee for adjudication, noted Dunphy.
Though a significant punishment, it is nowhere near the harshest penalties handed out by the league.
Dunphy said the six-game suspension is “stiff,” but he points out, for example, a player (Laurentians’ Ryan Slaney) received a two-year suspension last season.
“One must realize that the laws of the game which are governed by rules and regulations and are there to protect the officials of the game,” he said.
“The Discipline Policy Manual, which sets out punishment for ejections, is quite stringent when it comes to any form of verbal or physical abuse towards officials,” Dunphy pointed out.
“The NLSA strongly supports these regulations.”
Kirby served the first of his suspension Wednesday night as Holy Cross blanked Feildians Ernst & Young 3-0 at King George V Park in St. John’s.
Forsey scores twice in win
Tyler Forsey continued his torrid scoring pace as Holy Cross took over top spot in the league standings.
The result gives Holy Cross 27 points, one more than the Laurentians, with the Crusaders holding two games in hand.
Forsey opened the scoring at 20 minutes and then added his second at 60 minutes. That gives him a league-leading 15 goals on the season, six more than teammate Steve Delong.
Jon Hawco completed the scoring at 77 minutes. Brandon Noseworthy posted the shutout.
There are two games scheduled Friday.
Holy Cross takes on St. Lawrence in what will be a first-place showdown 6:30 p.m. at King George V Park, while Mount Pearl That Pro Look/Molson meets CB Strikers FC 7:30 at Topsail Field.
Team GP W L T Pts
Holy Cross 12 8 1 3 27
St. Lawrence 14 7 2 5 26
Mount Pearl 14 7 5 2 23
Feildians 12 5 3 4 19
* Canada Games 8 3 5 0 9
Strikers FC 14 0 14 0 0
Note: Techniplex Canada Games team playing on an exhibition basis only.