UCD AFC’s opening SSE Airtricity League Premier Division game of the new season is due to be played behind closed doors. The students open their account back in the top flight of Irish football on the 18th of February in Tallaght Stadium.
The FAI made the ruling due to an incident that took place during Shamrock Rovers’ away trip to Waterford FC towards the end of last season. During the game, fireworks exploded both over the pitch and in the away supporter’s section during the clash at the RSC in Waterford on the 5th of November.
The incident resulted in one injury of a man who had to be taken to Waterford Regional Hospital for treatment. Following the events in Waterford, Shamrock Rovers ‘unequivocally condemned” the action of the “so-called supporters’ and said they would be issuing indefinite bans from Tallaght Stadium to the people involved.
The ruling will come as a huge blow to both sides, particularly Shamrock Rovers. A fine was expected rather than a ban on fans attending their league opener. The result will mean the expected 6,000 fans cannot attend which will be a massive financial blow to the hoops.
The news will also be devastating for UCD fans who had planned to make the short trip across town to support the students on their return to the top-flight.
Speaking about the stadium ban after winning the SSE Airtricity / SWI ‘Personality of the Year for 2021, Shamrock Rovers manager, Stephen Bradley said the ban was ‘really harsh.’ He added that ‘on the whole, it’s dangerous grounds in terms of going forward, you could have a stadium ban every second week for different things.’
Conor Paterson – Co-Editor