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Thursday 14 December 2017

Armed gardai called to Junior A hurling match following allegations of racist abuse

Armed gardai arrived at Arklow GAA pitch (Photo: Google Maps)
Armed gardai arrived at Arklow GAA pitch (Photo: Google Maps)

Deborah Coleman

GAA fans were left in shock after a Junior A hurling final was marred by allegations of racist abuse and ‘threats of physical violence’.

The game, which was between St Patrick’s from Wicklow town and Kiltegan GAA in Arklow last Saturday, ended on an extremely tense note with armed gardaí and detectives from Arklow present, following a call to the garda station.

It is understood that a call was made after tempers flared between the clubs following the alleged use of racist language by a spectator during the game.

While the Arklow officers were called specifically, the armed gardaí happened to be in the area on a separate operation and also responded.

Nobody was arrested and gardaí said that matters had calmed by the time officers had arrived and that the crowd then dispersed

According to a number of sources, derogatory remarks were made on more than one occasion to members of the travelling community who play with St Pat’s.

Their manager Michael Neary said that he is aware of ‘very loud comments’ made towards his players, which he said he reported to the referee Mattie Dowling at half time.

"We don’t play hurling for this. I think this should be dealt with by officials. I was shocked at the nature of the abuse and it is a concerning element that has crept into the game. Discipline is very important but it is very hard to keep control when provoked with comments like this which lead to frustration," said Mr Neary.

He confirmed that he witnessed a hurl being thrown from the pitch into the air in frustration but is unaware of who threw it. He also said that such language must be acknowledged in order to stop future incidents.

Chairman of Kiltegan GAA John Timmins said that he did not wish to comment prior to seeing the referee’s report.

Bray People

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