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Fans slam ref for cancelling Dublin derby

FURIOUS fans slammed the referee's decision to cancel a match between Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers due to the condition of a penalty spot on the pitch.

The Airtricity League game was called off yesterday evening by referee Tomas Connelly after he inspected the pitch and deemed it unplayable.

Last night's game was scheduled to kick off at 7.45pm but an FAI statement confirmed that the decision was made by the referee "due to repair work that has been carried out inappropriately".

Fans were last night counting their losses - with some travelling from as far away as the UK to see the much-anticipated game.

Rob Toone and Phil Toone came from Derby in the UK to attend the match - both are avid Bohs fans. "I flew to Dublin this morning at 7.30am just to attend this game," Phil said.

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

Over-reaction

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

But they pledged to return for the game once it is rearranged because they have been looking forward to it for several weeks.

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

"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."

Rovers boss Pat Fenlon said the decision was extremely disappointing.

"It's a disaster for the league, not just the club," he said.

Dalymount Park in its heyday was known as "Dalyer" and hosted many of Ireland's international games.

It has also seen UEFA Champions League qualifiers, plus FAI Cup Finals played on its turf.

Referee 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. "The work on the pitch was carried out three hours ago.

"I'm not an expert on grounds, but in the current state it's not possible to play the match, because of player safety."

hnews@herald.ie


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