Thursday 18 January 2018

"There were people running in from the stands" - Kildare-Offaly minor game marred by violence

Kildare 0-14 Offaly 0-13 Leinster MFC Losers Round 2

Last night's game in Tullamore descended into violence
Last night's game in Tullamore descended into violence Newsdesk

Ethan O'Donoghue ultimately prove Kildare's hero in O'Connor Park - kicking a 40-metre free with extra-time looming to earn his team a date with Laois in Saturday week's quarter-final, but ugly scenes after final whistle marred this exciting encounter.

There was no shortage of drama in the closing stages as Offaly corner-back Ronan Hynes struck the post with a long-range effort in injury-time and substitute Jordan Hayes looked to have gone around the 'keeper but blasted the ball wide from eight metres out.

Then substitutes and supporters rushed the field after the full-time whistle as scuffles broke out between players, mentors and spectators.

It is understood that the situation escalated when up to 100 supporters made their way onto the field.

"It shouldn't happen, it was probably wrong on both sides. I just saw people running in. I don't know what happened," Offaly manager Keith Begley told Midlands Radio.

"That shouldn't happen, there is no place for that in football. There was people running out of the stands to get involved.

"It's not what the players are about, no more than Kildare.

"There's an edge there, it's a bordering county. It does make for excitement but it's just a pity the way it panned out in the end."

Seven changes from the Kildare team that suffered a shock defeat to Louth appeared to work the oracle as Jimmy Hyland and Conor Hartley combined to score 0-8 of the Lilywhites' first half tally.

The visitors led by 0-10 to 0-7 at half-time but that advantage was cancelled out early after the restart as Offaly used the wind well.

Kildare rallied again with points from Hyland and Ciaran Kelly, but Shane O'Brien and Shane Tierney restored parity once more with ten minutes remaining.

However, the home side failed to get their noses in front, even after Kildare midfielder Rory Feely was sent off for a second bookable offence, and they paid the price when O'Donoghue struck to snatch victory in injury-time.

Scorers - Kildare: J Hyland 0-6 (0-3fs), C Hartley 0-3, B McLoughlin, T Archibald, C Kelly, S Doran, E O'Donoghue (f) 0-1 each. Offaly: D Hyland 0-5 (0-3fs, 0-2 '45'), S Tierney 0-3, C Maher 0-2, R Heavin (f), J Walsh, S O'Brien 0-1 each.

Kildare - D Campbell; R Slattery, M Joyce, D Lawler; C Daffy, S Ryan, D O'Sullivan; D Courtney, R Feely; T Archibald, C Hartley, B McLoughlin; C Kelly, M Kelly, J Hyland. Subs: E O'Donoghue for M Kelly (ht), G Burke for Daffy (ht), S Lawlor for Archibold (46), S Doran for Courtney (22), K O'Callaghan for C Kelly (28), R Bannon for O'Sullivan (60).

Offaly - K Kinahan; R Hynes, C Horan, PJ Daly; D Dempsey, G Smyth, A Keyes; C Mangan, K Higgins; S O'Brien, C Maher, J Walsh; D Hyland, R Heavin, S Tierney. Subs: J Quinn for Smyth (49), J Hayes for Higgins (51).

Ref - S Johnson (Louth)

Irish Independent

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