Monday 24 November 2014

Pictures: Infamous Pitch Brawls


Francis Lee v Norman Hunter

English Division 1, Baseball Ground, Derby, November 1975

Hunter's hard man reputation did not put off the smaller, but equally aggressive Francis Lee when they clashed during a First Division match between Derby and Leeds.

After exchanging blows on the pitch, the ex-England internationals were both sent off. But, with Lee feeling that he still had a score to settle, the pair traded punches all the way up the tunnel, relenting briefly only when they were joined by both sets of players.

The game featured on BBC's Match of the Day.

Kevin Keegan v Billy Bremner

Charity Shield, Wembley, August 1974

After being blindsided by Johnny Giles in the Charity Shield, Kevin Keegan thumped Leeds captain Billy Bremner, thinking he was the culprit.

Never one to shy away from a fight, Bremner traded blows with Keegan in a classic 1970s soccer punch-up. The pair got sent off and to show their displeasure at the referee's decision they removed their shirts and flung them to the ground.

Both players were fined £500 and banned for 11 games, eight of which were for the shirt throwing.

Manchester United v Arsenal

English Division 1, Old Trafford, October 1990

This game is credited for igniting the fierce rivalry between the two English giants which has raged for over two decades. Arsenal won the game 1 - 0 but it was the 21 man brawl that hit the headlines.

Tempers flared after a rash challenge by Arsenal's Nigel Winterburn on Denis Irwin. Brian McClair kicked Winterburn as he lay on the ground sparking a brawl whch involved every player on the pitch except for Arsenal's goalkeeper David Seaman. The FA deducted a point from United and two from Arsenal but the Gunners still went on to win the league that season.

Meath v Mayo

All-Ireland SFC Final replay, Croke Park, September 1996

Arguably the most high-profile of all GAA brawls took place just five minutes into the 1996 All-Ireland final replay between Meath and Mayo.

As the players scrambled to a loose ball in front of the Mayo goal punches began to fly, within seconds a full-scale brawl had erupted between the two teams.

Just three players at the opposite end of the field avoided the melee, which only lasted around 30 seconds.

When order was restored, referee Pat McEnaney consulted with his officials then promptly dismissed Mayo's hugely influential Liam McHale and Meath's saviour from the drawn game Colm Coyle.

In the end it was Mayo who missed their talisman more, losing a game that was fiercely contested to the finish by two points.

Kieron Dyer v Lee Bowyer

English Premier League, St James's Park, April 2005

Newcastle pair Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer were sent off in disgrace after tearing strips off each other during a Premier League game at St James's Park.

The pair exchanged words and then blows in the middle of the Newcastle half shortly after Villa shot into a 3 - 0 lead.

Astounded Aston Villa midfielder Gareth Barry had to help pull the Newcastle players apart. The pair later appeared alongside manager Graeme Souness to apologise for their conduct, but pointedly did not say sorry to each other.

Dublin v Tyrone

NFL, Healy Park, February 2006

Forever remembered as 'the Battle of Omagh'. Early in the second half, Alan Brogan was sent off for a second yellow card, and was involved in a verbal altercation with a Tyrone official on the sideline.

That sparked violent confrontations between players and subs from both sides. The red card toll was four - Brogan and Denis Bastick for Dublin and Colin Holmes and Stephen O'Neill for Tyrone.

Twelve yellows, including double yellows for Brogan, Bastick and O'Neill, were brandished by the referee.

Cork v Clare

Munster SHC quarter-final, Semple Stadium, May 2007

A tunnel incident with a difference, as the clashes began when both teams were running out prior to the game.

A niggle started on the way out as two lines of schoolchildren formed a guard of honour. Shamefully, the players ignored any semblance of maturity and started a series of confrontations, leading to ugly scenes before they were eventually separated.

Nobody was booked or sent off for that pre-game affray as the referee Pat O'Connor and his team had not taken charge.

Ironically, the match itself was played in a reasonably disciplined fashion. Cork won by 1-18 to 1-11.

Subsequent action by GAA authorities resulted in four-week suspensions for Donal Og Cusack, Diarmuid O'Sullivan and Sean Og O hAilpin (Cork) and Clare's Colin Lynch, Barry Nugent, Andrew Quinn and Alan Markham.

Dublin v Meath

NFL , Parnell Park, April, 2008

Old enmity boiled over, and again Paddy Russell was the unfortunate man in the middle.

This time the ref didn't hesitate when the 'fun' began with a 90-second brawl involving 29 players just five minutes after the throw-in.

He immediately reduced the teams to 13 v 13, dismissing Bernard Brogan and Paddy Andrews from Dublin, and Meath's Niall McKeigue and Shane McAnarney.

Ciaran Whelan of Dublin was later sent off for giving Meath's Seamus Kenny a slap in the face. A total of 11 yellow cards were awarded.

Louth v Meath

Leinster SFC Final, Croke Park, July 2010

Meath won the 2010 Leinster title after referee Martin Sludden allowed a last-gasp goal that should never have stood.

Joe Sheridan - Jamie Heaslip-like - clearly carried the ball over the goal line, an illegal movement that should have merited a free out. Only after the ball had crossed the line did Sheridan's boot appear to make contact.

Furious Louth fans invaded the pitch after the final whistle to confront the referee. Mr Sludden had to be escorted off the field by gardai, who shielded him from the unruly mob.

A stadium steward who was helping to escort Mr Sludden had to be treated for injuries after he was struck by a plastic bottle that had been lobbed at the referee during the melee.

Carrickmore v Dromore

Tyrone Division 1 Football League final, Dunmoyle. November 2011

Fighting, which broke out between players in the closing stages of the game, sparked a mini-riot in the stand at Dunmoyle.

A number of spectators were left with open wounds as a result of the disturbance, which lasted almost 10 minutes. Two Carrickmore players received straight red cards for their part in the on-field disorder.

Dromore ran out five-point winners once order was eventually restored.

Dromid Pearses v Derrytresk

All-Ireland JFC semi-final, O'Moore Park, January 2012

Sunday's All-Ireland junior football championship semi-final in Portlaoise erupted into violence between the sides just before half-time, with spectators joining in from the stands.

The ensuing violence left one player concussed and another with a broken cheekbone.

Dromid Pearses manager Michael Anthony O'Connell accused Derrytresk of employing dirty tactics, saying "three of my players were caught by the testicles."

It is was also claimed that Kerry star Declan O'Sullivan was struck by a handbag while leaving the field.

Derrytresk officials have yet to comment as the GAA investigate the incident.

Following the violence that marred a recent gaelic football match in Portlaoise we take a look back at some high-profile punch-ups from the past.

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