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Bohs in a spot of bother

BOHEMIANS have been left out of pocket to the tune of thousands of euros after last night's Dublin derby at home to Shamrock Rovers was controversially called off by the referee due to concerns over the state of the pitch.

And Rovers boss Pat Fenlon, who was content to play the game, said the postponement was "a disaster for the whole league".


The Gypsies were expecting a sell-out crowd, including 800 away fans, as Fenlon prepared for his first game at Dalymount as manager since he left Bohs in 2011.

But those supporters were sent away without seeing any action. Match referee Tomás Connolly was unhappy with the pitch, specifically the goalmouth at the Tramway End of the ground, and called off the game, citing player safety as his concern.

Bohs had been alerted to the issue by match officials after last Friday's game at home to Drogheda United and work was carried out on the problem - but not to the referee's satisfaction last night.

Connolly was not willing to pass the surface playable and the managers were informed at 7pm, just as Fenlon had finished his teamtalk.

"The work on the pitch was carried out three hours ago and the pitch is not safe," Connolly (pictured, right) said.

"I am not an expert on grounds but in its current state it's not possible to play the match due to player safety.

"The pitch is not playable and player safety is my main concern and that's why the match was called off."

Subsequently, an official FAI statement said that the game was off because of "repair work that had been carried out inappropriately".

But the decision angered officials from both clubs as well as the rival managers, with visiting boss Fenlon happy to play the game.

"It's disappointing, very disappointing," Fenlon said.

"We wanted to play, it looked like it would be a big crowd as well.

"Like I said to the ref, it's not mine or Owen Heary's call. It's his decision. It's a disaster for the league, not just the club."

The clubs now face the logistical nightmare of trying to rearrange the game - complicated by the fact that both sides are still involved in the FAI Cup while Rovers also have a date in the EA Sports Cup final to contend with.

But Bohs will also have to meet the security and stewarding costs of last night, as well as lost commercial and bar revenue.

"The logistics of refunding pre-paid tickets and probably people won't come to the return leg whenever it's rescheduled, so it's hard to calculate," said Bohs president Matt Devaney.

"It's going to be costly."