The passion and pride of League of Ireland supporters is the main reason it is locally known as The Greatest League in the World, but the behaviour of St.Pats and Cork City supporters last weekend put a bloody smear on that repute.
Reports from those in attendance at McDowell’s pub in Inchicore before the game last Friday, reveal how supporters were left bloodied and children were crying in fear, after a brawl saw both sides’ supporters throw glasses and bottles at each other. The pub was forced to shut its doors.
An unusual rivalry had been simmering between Cork City and St.Pats and while the rivalry is one of the convolutions that typify the league, the ugly boiling over last night has only scalded its reputation.
Jonathon Kennedy, a season ticket holder for St.Patrick’s Athletic was unable to attend the game after he was caught up in the fight and he and a friend both suffered lacerations to their head which needed stiches.
“Myself and my friends were having a drink in McDowell’s in Inchicore before the Pats v Cork match,” he said.
“A group of around ten Cork fans came running into the pub and started throwing punches and glasses at a group of Pats fans at the top of the pub. The Pats fans retaliated and we were stuck in the middle.
“Myself and my friend Keith were struck with bottles and glasses in the head. We both had to be brought to St James’ hospital for stitches. A similar thing happened last year. It’s two groups of young lads that just have this attitude about fighting at football. It’s all a bit stupid really.
“I couldn’t tell you exactly who was involved, it all happened in about 15 seconds and by the time I’d realised what had happened I was being brought outside by paramedics.”
Sports Journalist Johnny Ward arrived as the dust settled on the fight that had taken place inside and the doors were shut, the scenes outside of the Inchicore pub however, were still shocking, he said.
The conduct of the supporters he said, was terrifying for the young fans present.
“There were a number of Cork and Pats fans throwing bottles at each other,” he said.
“When I arrived in Inchicore, I was going into McDowell’s and it was weird there was just a huge rush of people running out of the pub and there was a Cork fan outside being an idiot smashing a stool off the wall.
“There was at least one young girl just crying in front of me. It would have been scary if you were young. I couldn’t get into the bar. The bar was promptly shut but I saw a guy appear to be throwing stools at what appeared to be people coming out of the pub or at least at the wall.”
Alarmingly, Ward added that a number of Sheffield United supporters are thought to have been involved in the conflict. Last season, hooligans from Wrexham, who along with Celtic supporters, are linked with Bohemians were heavily involved in a huge fight with Shamrock Rovers supporters who had linked up with Bury and Manchester City fans.
The hooligans are thought to be coming over with the intension to cause havoc and are influencing the hoodlum behaviour of English football in the Irish league.
“What I’m hearing is that Sheffield United fans that have teamed up with Pats for some reason or another,” he said.
“A small bunch of them make the odd trip to Inchicore the odd time and from what I hear they were definitely involved in it.
“Apparently the Cork Pats game has been simmering for a while but looking at last night I’m sure they’ll be reluctant about letting away fans in again because it was very messy it was disgraceful behaviour.”
After the game, a Sheffield United supporter whose social media revealed that he had made the trip over to the game, wrote on twitter, “British collaborators and Sheff Utd scum they said, it was answered with smacks. Up the f**king Saints and Blades.”
In a separate instance, the Cork City team bus reportedly had its front window smashed and bottles thrown at it. A Garda spokesperson told TheCircular that no arrests were made.