By Brendan Grehan
SOCCER FANS got a tongue-lashing from a judge in Tallaght District Court this week.
Judge Bridget Reilly was dealing with Shamrock Rovers fan, Michael Donnelly, who was arrested before a match between Rovers and St Patrick’s Athletic after he abused the visiting fans.
Judge Reilly told the court: “The idea that the gardaí have to escort fans to soccer matches speaks volumes. I have never heard of this happening in GAA. It does not happen in rugby. Why is the great game of soccer being sullied like this.”
Michael Donnelly, aged 25, with an address at Lismore Road, Crumlin, pleaded guilty to engaging in threatening and abusive behaviour at Whitestown Way, Tallaght, just outside Tallaght Stadium on March 18, 2016.
Garda Gerard Kildea told the court that he had been on mountain bike patrol on the above date and had been escorting a group of Shamrock Rovers fans to Tallaght Stadium where they were playing St Patrick’s Athletic.
He said the group started abusing the St Pat’s fans and Donnelly was shouting “f**k you” at the St Pat’s fans and making abusive hand signals at them.
Hearing this, Judge Reilly said: “All in the name of sport”.
Garda Kildea said Donnelly was arrested.
He said Donnelly had no previous convictions and had been co-operative when arrested.
Donnelly’s counsel, George Burns, said his client had “crossed over the line”. He said Donnelly works full-time in Dunnes Stores.
Judge Reilly said: “The idea that people can go to any match with the intention of abusing other fans is ludicrous. The idea that the gardaí have to escort fans to soccer matches speaks volumes. I have never heard of this happening in GAA. It does not happen in rugby. Why is the great game of soccer being sullied like this?”
Judge Reilly fined Donnelly €400.
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