Wednesday 7 December 2016

'Bits of wooden seats went flying just past my head'

Mark Evans recalls England's 1995 visit to Dublin on a night he'll never forget

Published 06/06/2015 | 02:30

England fans riot in Lansdowne Road during the game between Ireland and England on February 15, 1995. Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
England fans riot in Lansdowne Road during the game between Ireland and England on February 15, 1995. Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

'You nuts? So you want to meet the scum?"

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Even the steward knew there was a sense of menace in the air. It was intimidating enough being an Irish fan among your own in the East Stand or Havelock Terrace. Watching the match with England's hooligans was another level of fear and tension altogether.

Twenty years ago, I was a young journalist with our sister paper, then called the 'Evening Herald'. Writing colour pieces at football matches, both football and Gaelic, was an occasional treat: a chance to follow the fortunes of the all-Ireland winning Dublin team (a rare thing in those days) or the colour and fun of Jack Charlton's Ireland side, whether at home in Lansdowne or away in Lisbon or New York. Even the sectarian cauldron that was Belfast's Windsor Park was no match for the atmosphere of the night of February 15, 1995.

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