'Thugs couldn't make me miss match', says NI fan
A Northern Ireland football fan has said he was viciously attacked by hooded men while on his way to the friendly with the Republic at the Aviva Stadium on Thursday night.
Andrew Meeke (29), from Dundonald, Co Down, was walking along the Shelbourne Road with friends before the match when he says he was set upon by three hooded men.
"We had been in a pub nearby where we'd been sitting with Irish supporters and just having a couple of pints," he said.
"I was at the front of the group as we walked down the road and the next thing I know I'm stumbling on the pavement and scraping my face off it.
"I didn't see anything. I think they hit me from the side because I didn't see anyone looking towards me or trying to hurt me.
"The group we were with caught up with us and explained they saw three people covered up walking straight towards us in the hoodies."
Mr Meeke was not the only victim of the attack, as his brother-in-law Richard Rooney (26) and another friend said they were also set upon.
"Two of them went for me and Richard but then they went for one of the other boys with us," said Mr Rooney.
On Friday morning, Mr Meeke attended A&E for his injuries before calling in to Donnybrook Garda Station to make a statement.
"At A&E they told me they didn't break any bones. I have a massively swollen eye and will have for a few months, and I will also have a scar," he said.
The injured supporters were treated by medics at the scene, but Mr Meeke said the incident did not stop him from attending the game, which ended in a 0-0 draw.
"We missed the first couple of minutes but I watched the match. I got myself patched up and I went in," he said.
"I had a good time down there and that was unfortunate that it happened. But I love football and I love watching it, so it wasn't going to stop me."