DUBLIN goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton saw red at a charity match when he floored ex-Ireland star Jason McAteer.
Stephen was constantly wound up by the former ‘Spice Boy’ during the soccer game in Dublin.
Stunned football fans looked on – some thinking that the entire scrap was staged – as both players were given their marching orders.
A large crowd of 2,500 witnessed the incident during a charity game for Autism Action at Morton Stadium, Santry.
Sparks flew during the second half when Stephen Cluxton was fouled by former Liverpool player McAteer as the Dublin netminder dispossessed the soccer ace.
The latter appeared to kick out, Cluxton stood his ground and as words were exchanged, the incident followed. Both players were dismissed by ex-League of Ireland referee Joe O'Brien.
According to an eye-witness, Cluxton lashed out at McAteer after being fouled on a number of occasions.
“McAteer had been niggling at him through the game and Cluxton had enough,” he said. “Cluxton is a seriously talented footballer and had the better of McAteer on a number of occasions, so they were clashing throughout the game. The referee never hesitated for a second in sending them both off.”
Former world boxing champ Bernard Dunne told followers on Twitter that it was a blow he would have been proud of.
“Stephen Cluxton is my hero. Showed a soccer player today (Jason McAteer) GAA boys don't fanny about like those soccer players ... 1-2 uni flu!,” he tweeted.
“I don't condone it of course but f **k me that was impressive. Unlike our western neighbours sport GAA boys dont mess about..
“It was a whopper. I’d be careful about saying anything about his mistakes in future if I was on d Dublin panel. Legend.”
Bernard Brogan, who was playing alongside Cluxton in the charity event, told Dunne that he “would of been proud of that left hook.”
Former Republic of Ireland legend John Aldridge remonstrated furiously with the redcarded duo as they made their way to the dressing room.
McAteer reportedly turned up for a special dinner following the event and was not sporting any visible injuries. Dublin boss Pat Gilroy scored a cracking individual goal in a charity soccer match but it wasn’t enough as the Liverpool/Manchester United legends defeated a Darndale Celtic selection.
Ex-Super-Bantamweight world champ Bernard Dunne entered the fray shortly afterwards and things calmed down.
The incident soured what was otherwise a very wellorganised, sporting occasion.
Over 3,000 tickets were sold for the event which also saw a dinner and auction at the Hilton Hotel at Clarehall attended by FAI Chief Executive John Delaney, who was the highest bidder at €1,000 for a pair of Eric Cantona's boots.
Bob Boulder, Phil Neal, Alan Kennedy, Paul Walsh, John Wark, Aldridge, McAteer, Don Hutchison, Clayton Blackmore, Keith Gillespie and David May all lined out for the Legends.