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Club to boost security after goalie abused

SHAMROCK Rovers are planning to up their security after a fan gained access to the pitch and confronted a rival goalie.

A supporter from Tallaght managed to evade the stewards at Tallaght Stadium before confronting St Patrick's Athletic goalie Gary Rogers and launching a tirade of abuse.

The incident took place during last week's Dublin derby and the man was eventually ushered off the field by players and stewards.

The man has been issued with a lifetime ban from Tallaght Stadium with immediate effect.

This is the latest dangerous incident involving Shamrock Rovers supporters after a group of Hoops fans reportedly attacked three Shelbourne fans on the Luas after a friendly game last month.

John Byrne, Shamrock Rovers' spokesman, promised that the security for the next game would be improved significantly.

"We have the gates up behind the goals before the game to encourage fans to take their seats in the stands," he said.

"The gates would have been taken down at half-time to allow access to the food and drink stalls behind the goal.

"Everyone gets passionate about sport but there is a line you don't cross."

Philip Nolan, spokesman for St Patrick's Athletic, said that each club must guard against pitch invasions if the security of players and officials is to be maintained.

"Football is a passionate game but what happens when one of these guys gains access to the pitch and he's carrying a knife or a stick," he said.

"I thought our player (goalkeeper Gary Rogers) acted very professionally in the way he handled the fan. The protection of players and officials is our main concern.

"At the end of the day, these guys have to get up in the morning and go to work."

Both clubs are investigating the incident along with the FAI, who may yet take action against the Tallaght club for the breach.

Local Fianna Fail TD Charlie O'Connor was at the game and believes that this type of behaviour is a threat to the welcoming atmosphere that has developed at the new stadium.

"The stadium is a real positive. Rovers are attracting large crowds and games have developed into a family occasion, so this is not the thing you want to see," he said.

The man was arrested and appeared before Tallaght District Court. He will appear again next month.

Inspector Ray Blake of Tallaght Garda Station confirmed the incident.

"A person was arrested and charged with a public order offence," he said.

"He was in the courts today (last Wednesday) and a file is to be submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions."