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Chaos In Longford As 40-Person Brawl Involving Players, Coaches And Supporters Erupts In Championship Clash

Chaos In Longford As 40-Person Brawl Involving Players, Coaches And Supporters Erupts In Championship Clash
By Gavin Cooney Updated

The Longford intermediate football championship has been thrown into chaos as two clubs have been thrown out of the competition, having ended their clash last Saturday evening with an almighty, 40-person brawl involving both sets of players, management teams along with some supporters.

The teams involved were Legan Sarsfields and Young Grattan's, and witnesses estimated to Balls that the brawl consisted of around 40 people, lasting between five and ten minutes.

Having reviewed the incident on Monday evening, the Longford branch of the CCC decided to kick both sides out of the championship. Both have the right to lodge an appeal by tomorrow evening.

The game portended chaos from the beginning. Legan and Grattan's are a strong local rivalry in Longford, and there were concerns ahead of the game about the identity of the referee, amid questions of inexperience and a conflict of interests.

Mark Glancy was assigned the game, despite the fact that he is currently coaching the Grattan's minor team, who form an amalgamation with another club in the south of Longford, Rathcline.

While there is nothing to suggest that this impinged on the fairness of his adjudication, Glancy issued the first of seven red cards to Legan's Conor Quaine in the opening few minutes. All of the witnesses we spoke to, along with The Longford Leader's Pauric O'Brien, agreed that the decision was harsh.

The game burbled along from there, and with the game heading for a draw, Young Grattan's forward Kevin Jones scored 1-1 in injury time. This ended the game as a contest, but prefaced the madness. After the second of those scores, Jones got involved with his opposite number, Joe Keogh.

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The resulting cards were different in colour but similar in effect: Keogh got red; Jones saw black.

As Jones made his way off the field, he appeared to make a gesture toward the opposition bench, for which he was hit by a water bottle from a member of the Legan squad. From there the chaos was loosed, as approximately 40 people joined a free-for-all. A handful of supporters hopped the railing to get involved, too. One witness told Balls that "these weren't fisticuffs, but a proper scrap", in which nobody suffered any serious injury. The referee, having been forced to stand by for somewhere between five and ten minutes, brandished four red cards when the row had finally dissipated.

Another witness accentuated the lack of stewarding at the game, which allowed supporters free reign to enter the pitch.

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The intermediate championship in Longford works on a round-robin system consisting of two groups of four, meaning that, should the expulsions stand, Cashel and Rathcline will qualify automatically for the semi-finals having played a single game, the latter having lost their clash last Saturday evening.

See Also: Michael Duignan Questions 'Sinister' Davy Fitzgerald Motives

 

 

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