CARRICKFERGUS have been dealt a hammer blow on the eve of the biggest match in the club’s history with the news that CJ van der Walt is banned from today’s Irish Cup quarter-final against Phoenix.

Van der Walt received a Level One punishment for the reaction to his dismissal in the previous round at Clontarf but when he failed to respond to the charge – which, in normal circumstances, would have led only to a reprimand - the Carrick club were told he was banned from today game – at 9.10am yesterday morning!

Carrick put in an appeal, because of the late notification – despite being told they had no right of appeal . That was confirmed last night by Cricket Ireland leaving the club “very disappointed in the timing” and the player “devastated”.

Van der Walt, a South African with an Irish passport who lives adjacent to the Middle Road ground, has enjoyed a successful first three months with the club and his absence today is a huge blow to Carrick’s prospects of success in their first game at this stage of the all-Ireland competition.