Riot police called to Windsor Park as Shamrock Rovers fans tear up seats

Riot police called to Windsor Park as Shamrock Rovers fans tear up seats

SHAMROCK Rovers have vowed to root out the fans who caused trouble at Monday night’s Setanta Cup quarter final against Linfield in Belfast.

The Dublin club said on Tuesday that it was “very disappointed” at those fans who were engaged in the trouble inside the Windsor Park ground in south Belfast.

PSNI riot police were tasked to deal with the trouble as Rovers fans broke through barriers the top deck of the North Stand and charged towards Linfield fans.

Police later brough the situation under control.

However, both sets of supporters were heard goading each other throughout the game with sectarian chanting.

The match had to be stopped for a short time after a flare and smoke canister were thrown on the pitch.

Several seats were ripped up in the North Stand during the game which seen Linfield lose 3-1 on the night and 7-2 on aggregate.

The PSNI have now launched their own investigation to try and identify the trouble makers.

A spokesperson for Shamrock Rovers said the club is “very disappointed by the behaviour of some of our fans at Windsor Park last night”.

“We brought over 500 supporters to Belfast and the majority of them got behind the team and enjoyed watching the club progress to the semi-finals of the competition,” they said.

“Out of the over 500 fans, about 20 caused the problems that occurred last night; we are looking closely at what happened and will take whatever action is necessary.”

“The Setanta Cup is a great competition. We won it in 2011 and Trevor (Croly, manager) and the squad are very keen to replicate that again this year.

“The majority of our fans got behind the team last night and enjoyed their trip to Windsor Park to watch the two most successful clubs on the island compete in all-Ireland competition.”

Sinn Fein Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said there was “no place for this type of behaviour in sport”.

“So much work has gone on behind the scenes to ensure that football takes place in a welcoming and friendly environment,” she said.

“Destruction and violence have no place on the football terraces.

“It was for this reason that my Department worked in partnership with the Department of Justice in the development of legislation (the Justice Act (NI) 2011) which introduced new criminal offences around spectator behaviour at major matches in the north.

“I call on both clubs to assist the authorities in any investigation that follows last night’s disgraceful scenes.”

The trouble comes after a section of Linfield fans were filmed singing allegedly sectarian songs during the first leg in Dublin last week.

South Belfast SDLP MLA Conall McDevitt said: “I think the vast majority of Dubliners, real Shamrock Rovers fans are really just disgusted at the carry-on of a small number of people.

“Clearly having to put up with the brunt of some of the unfortunate behaviour of a small minority of Linfield fans last week, thought they’d come and do the same in Belfast and its deplorable.”

The MLA said that clubs on both sides of the border needed to work to address the issue.

Mr McDevitt added: “We need to tackle in an even more robust way, bigotry and hatred in soccer in Ireland.

“It’s not football, it doesn’t reflect, I believe, what either Shamrock Rovers or the Linfield fans stand for.”



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