UGLY scenes involving visiting fans overshadowed the visit of Marco Tardelli to Richmond Park for the Setanta Cup clash between St Patrick's Athletic and Linfield last night.
Some members of the large group of Linfield supporters who travelled from Belfast clashed with gardai and were escorted from the ground before kick-off as a heavy security presence descended on Inchicore for the eagerly anticipated encounter.
A contingency plan had been devised before kick-off to remove the possibility of any contact between the opposing groups at the final whistle, with the Dublin club's supporters kept in the ground until all the Linfield fans had been escorted out.
The Emmet Road in Inchicore was closed to facilitate this and to prevent non-Saints supporters from being in a position to target the visitors from the North. Garda intelligence had suggested that outside groups not affiliated to the Eircom League club were the most likely aggressors.
Tardelli was oblivious to any hassle as he took his place in the directors box shortly before kick-off and posed for photos.
The new Irish assistant manager to Giovanni Trapattoni is currently in Dublin improving his command of the English language and took the opportunity to take in a St Pat's side which currently is top of the Eircom League table.
In particular, he would have been looking at twice capped Irish international Joe O'Cearuill and recently awarded player of the month for March Keith Fahey who was again commanding in the centre of the park for John McDonnell's side.
The extremely lively encounter provided plenty of football talking points but unfortunately the headlines will be grabbed by unsavoury incidents with nothing to do with the game.