A rather alarming story has come our way this evening via the Bray People, who are reporting that armed gardaí were called to Pearse's Park in Arklow on Saturday during a Junior A hurling final.
The match between St Patrick’s from Wicklow town and Kiltegan GAA in Arklow was not played out in good spirits and the gardaí were called after a spectator allegedly used racist abuse towards members of the travelling community playing for St Pat’s, as well as threats of physical violence.
A call was put into Arklow garda station, but as armed gardaí were in the area carrying out other business, they responded first and turned up to investigate the allegations. No arrests were made on the day and it is believed that tempers had calmed down by the time gardaí arrived on the scene.
St.Pat's manager Michael Neary told the Bray People that he informed the referee at half-time of audible abuse coming from a section of the opposition supporters:
We don’t play hurling for this. I think this should be dealt with by officials. I was shocked at the nature of the abuse and it is a concerning element that has crept into the game. Discipline is very important but it is very hard to keep control when provoked with comments like this which lead to frustration.
Nearly also reported that he witnessed a hurl being thrown as well as other sources confirming that they had heard racist abuse being aimed at their players.
The matter is currently being investigated further and at this time the chairman of Kiltegan GAA has expressed his wish to see the referee's report before commenting.