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FAI to probe Oriel scenes

THE FAI this morning launched a full investigation into the violence which caused the hold-up of last night's League of Ireland Premier Division game between Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers.

In a disastrous piece of PR for the domestic game, live TV cameras were on hand at Oriel Park in Dundalk to witness baton-wielding gardai deployed to deal with a small section of Rovers supporters who reacted to the sending off of one of their players and manager Michael O'Neill.

Missiles were thrown onto the pitch during the disturbances and the game was held up for seven minutes, with fears at one point from Dundalk manager Ian Foster that the match might be called off.

Rovers will consider lifetime bans from the club for any individuals identified and the FAI said today they will take action after discussions with match officials, both clubs and the gardai.

"Unfortunately, the incident happened at the end of a fantastic game of football. We will hold a full investigation into the incident. We have requested the TV footage, we are awaiting reports from the match delegate and the referee and we will be speaking to both clubs and the gardai.

"We need to sit down with everyone involved and discuss it with the gardai in particular," FAI League of Ireland Director Fran Gavin said today.

"No decision by a referee can warrant the scenes we witnessed last night, it's very disappointing.

"Shamrock Rovers have worked very closely with their support in the last few seasons and have been a model club in that area, and I'm sure the people in charge of Shamrock Rovers will get those involved. It was a very small minority of a large travelling support," added Gavin.

Rovers boss Michael O'Neill said he didn't witness the incidents as he had been sent off by referee Damien Hancock. "I didn't see what happened, I had left the playing field but I can't condone it. The club don't condone that behaviour," O'Neill said.

Foster called for action against those responsible. "The people who threw objects onto the pitch should not be allowed into a stadium," Foster said.

"I thought the game was going to be called off. The Rovers fans were throwing all sorts of things onto the pitch, it was quite hostile."