I was caught up in Lansdowne Road riot - Nicky

By Elaine McCahill

RTE presenter Nicky Byrne has recalled how he got caught up in the riot at Landsdowne Road 20 years ago.

The former Westlife singer (36) revealed fighting broke out on the day he was attending his first international match on his own - a friendly game between Ireland and England.

"I had always gone with my dad to see Ireland play and here I was out for the first time on my own and I walked into this," he remembered.

"The thing I remember straight away going into Landsdowne road that night was the atmosphere.

"There was such hatred. You couldn't hear the national anthems."

Luckily, Nicky was with his friends in the south terrace which was away from the English hooligans who were in the upper West Stand.

However, he says he can still remember "all hell breaking loose" when Ireland scored.

"It was like an explosion because it drove the English fans crazy and immediately they started ripping up their seats."

Nicky, who was just 16 at the time, later made his way to Ringsend to call his parents to let them know he was safe.