Cliftonville and Linfield pull out of 2014 Setanta Sports Cup

The Irish League clubs have declined the invitation to participate in next season's cross-border tournament, with Ballinamallard United and Coleraine taking their places
The details of the 2014 Setanta Sports Cup have been announced, with Cliftonville and Linfield declining the invitation to take part.

The Setanta Sports Cup Tournament Committee chairman Milo Corcoran confirmed the details of next year's tournament, while also announcing the renewal of Setanta Sports' sponsorship of the competition for the next three years.

“I am very happy that Setanta have shown their faith in this unique competition by agreeing to remain as our sponsors for a further three years," Corcoran said. "The competition has grown in stature since it began in 2005 and clubs north and south are looking forward to the ninth version starting in February.

The 2014 tournament is due to begin in February, but will be without Irish League champions Cliftonville and third-placed Linfield after the Irish League sides turned down the committee's invitation. Ballinmallard United and Coleraine will fill the void, alongside Crusaders and Glentoran.

Both Cliftonville and Linfield cited busy schedules as the reason for their opt outs, with a statement from the former reading: "Cliftonville Football Club were pleased to receive an invitation to compete in the 2014 Setanta Sports Cup but, amid an already heavy footballing schedule, which began with the Champions League in July, we have decided not to take up the invitation this season."

St Patrick's Athletic, Dundalk, Sligo Rovers, and holders Shamrock Rovers comprise the four League of Ireland representatives, with the draw for the First Round due to take place on Wednesday, December 11.