News Irish News

Friday 24 January 2020

Fans count the cost as referee abandons derby game

Rob Toone (left), Simon Wilkins and Phill Toone, Derby left disappointed as Referee Tomas Connolly called off the Airtricity Premier league clash between Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers due to damage on the surface beside the penalty spot at one of the ends. Photo: Arthur Carron
Rob Toone (left), Simon Wilkins and Phill Toone, Derby left disappointed as Referee Tomas Connolly called off the Airtricity Premier league clash between Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers due to damage on the surface beside the penalty spot at one of the ends. Photo: Arthur Carron

Mark O'Regan

Fans have expressed their outrage after the SSE Airtricity League game between Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers was called off due to the condition of one of the penalty spots.

Rob Toone and Phil Toone are counting their loses after travelling from Derby in England to attend the match at Dalymount Park in Dublin.

"I had arrived back to the UK yesterday after being on holiday, had three hours sleep and then flew to Dublin this morning at 7.30am just to attend this game," Phil told the Irish Independent.

"We're stunned because we've seen worse pitches than that in the (English) Premier League. Fair enough it's on the penalty spot, but the goal mouth is in worse condition.

"In our opinion it's an over reaction and unfortunately he's made the wrong decision.

"We had paid €75 for our flights and took two days off work," Rob added.

"But we will be back when it's rearranged because we've been looking forward to this for the last few weeks.

"We're supporters of the club and love the club but this is a ridiculous decision.

"It's a feeble decision. The referee should have given the authorities 20 minutes to see what they could do about it. Instead, he just said he's not happy with it and called it off."

Rob said Dalymount Park has long been a citadel for Irish soccer but last night was arguably one of the most embarrassing moment in its chequered history.

In its heyday, it hosted many of Ireland's international games and has also seen UEFA Champions League qualifiers, plus FAI Cup Finals played there.

Last night's game was scheduled to kick off at 7.45pm but an FAI statement confirmed that following a pitch inspection it was decided not to go ahead with the game.

''The decision was made by Tomas Connelly, the referee in charge of the fixture, after he inspected the pitch and deemed in unplayable, due to repair work that has been carried out inappropriately. "A new date for the fixture will be announced in due course,'' said the statement.

Mr Connolly is understood to have been unhappy with a small area of the ground near one of the penalty spots.

"The pitch is not safe for players to play on," he said. "I'm not an expert on grounds, but in the current state it's not possible to play the match, because of player safety."

He explained he had made his decision after discussions with the groundsman.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News