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Last Updated:  Thursday, 20 March, 2003, 09:34 GMT
Murphy hit by six-match ban
Winkie Murphy has been hit by a six-match ban
Linfield's Murphy sent off last Saturday against Newry
Linfield defender William Murphy's season has come to a premature finish.

Murphy was handed a six-match suspension by the IFA disciplinary committee following his red card against Newry Town on Saturday.

''I am devastated,'' said Murphy, who automatically misses Saturday's Belfast derby against fierce rivals Glentoran.

''I cannot believe this is happening to me. I did not realise I was in for such a hefty suspension.

''I felt I was in for a two-match ban from Monday because I was up to 36 penalty points following my sending off last week.''

However, Murphy had reached 32 penalty points from a yellow card during last Thursday's Irish Cup quarter-final defeat at Omagh.

That automatcially meant a two-match ban, but his sending off on Saturday extended that suspension by another four weeks.

Blues boss David Jeffrey is obviously disappointed to be without his key defender.

Portadown win

''This epitomises the way our reason has been going,'' he said.

''I'm gutted for William and desperately disappointed not only for the player, but for our team.''

Hit with two-match bans were Armagh City trio Lee Anderson, Alan Murphy, and Tony Clarke along with Gregg Davidson (Bangor) and Ryan McCann (Linfield).

Meanwhile, Dean Fitzpatrick grabbed a hat-trick as Portadown defeated Newry Town 3-2 to book a place in the Mid-Ulster Cup final.

Martin Reilly and Barney Meekin netted for Newry while Portadown goalkeeper David Wells saved a late penalty by David Brunton.

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