Saturday 25 February 2017

Fans face charges over Sludden-gate

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Gardai have completed their investigation into the unruly scenes that marred the end of last year's infamous Leinster SFC final and three supporters are set to face summonses.

It is understood that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has recommended that up to three prosecutions be made against individuals involved in altercations with referee Martin Sludden as he made his way off the field.

Controversy erupted when Sludden decided to allow a clearly illegal Joe Sheridan goal deep into injury-time that gave Meath a two-point lead over Louth.

With no more additional time left for a response, Louth were denied a first Leinster title in 53 years, and their supporters were incensed by the decision.

Television cameras that were following Sludden off the field of play captured the harassment that he faced as he made his way to the tunnel beneath where the Cusack and Davin Stands meet.

The deadline for the application of summons on foot of the DPP recommendation is today, six months on from the date of the ill-fated Leinster final.

The GAA have conducted their own investigation into the incidents but have been waiting for the Garda investigation to be completed.

Sludden was due to return to inter-county refereeing last Sunday when he was slated to take charge of the Armagh versus Antrim McKenna Cup match that was postponed due to the adverse weather.

The Tyrone official has returned to club action in Tyrone and Ulster since the Leinster final and was a linesman for Joe McQuillan for the Ulster club final between Crossmaglen Rangers and Naomh Conaill in December.

Irish Independent

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