Ban for life
Hoops chairman Roche vows to get tough on those fans guilty of causing trouble at Oriel Park
SHAMROCK ROVERS have vowed to impose lifetime bans on any fans who are found to have caused disturbances in Dundalk on Monday night.
Rovers chairman Jonathan Roche has admitted that the Oriel Park affair, where riot police were deployed to deal with a small section of the Rovers support who almost caused the abandonment of the Premier Division game, a 2-1 win for league leaders Dundalk.
The FAI have already begun an investigation into the incidents and the Gardaí will also have a big say in what happens next, but Rovers have promised to take action against the minority of fans who have besmirched the club's good name.
"I'm chairman of the club but first and foremost I am a fan, like the rest of our board. It has been embarrassing and very upsetting. We have thousands who follow this club every week and, as a club, we don't let the 10 or 20 people who acted appallingly on Monday night to take the good name of this club go unpunished," said the Rovers chairman.
"We have the footage from Setanta; we will be sitting down in the club office on Wednesday with our event controller, who is a retired garda, and, with the help of our fans, we will identify these people, and any entitlement they had to come to Shamrock Rovers matches will be removed -- they will be banned for life.
"It's very damaging to the club, given all the work the fans had put into the club -- as the fans own the club. We had just 10 or 15 people who had no conscience or regard for their actions; the club is on the back page of every newspaper," he said.
"We had 30,000 people come to Tallaght Stadium this season, 130,000 last year, and it's not on. We will take action against this very small minority. They are just 5pc of the 500 or so supporters who travelled to Dundalk on Monday night, probably the biggest travelling support Dundalk or any other club will have this season. We had almost 1,500 fans at Richmond Park for the St Pat's game last week. We bring the biggest support of anyone around the country and people have to realise they have to behave themselves.
"We will identity the 10-15 people involved in the misbehaviour and they will be dealt with," he continued.
"There's a line you don't cross in football and that was crossed by 10 to 15 people on Monday night, they didn't seem to know they were on live TV, making a show of themselves and the club and everyone associated with the club.
"We have 3,600 season ticket holders, we get over 4,000 every week in Tallaght, so we will deal with this with the Gardai and the FAI.
"The majority of the time there are no problems. It was very unsightly on Monday night, maybe it looked worse than it was as it was on live TV, it looked terrible, but the majority of our games are safer than games in the UK or Europe. We have a family atmosphere and we will aim to keep that up," he added.
Identifying those involved in Monday's trouble should be easy for Rovers security staff, the Gardaí and the FAI's own security team and, once identified, the troublemakers will find themselves banned from football for life.
The matter is even more serious as the minister for justice, Dermot Ahern TD, a well-known Dundalk FC fan, was at the game, and he is keen for action against the minority.
In a statement yesterday, the Rovers board also promised to act.
"Shamrock Rovers Football Club condemns the behaviour of the 10 to 15 so called fans at last night's Airtricity League match against Dundalk in Oriel Park, which was attended by over 500 Rovers supporters," the club said.
"A full investigation will be carried out by the club, and serious action will be taken against anyone identified as having taken part in the incident. We have requested the video footage of the game from Setanta Sports in order to aid us in this matter.
"These people do not represent Shamrock Rovers, and are not wanted at our club. Since moving to Tallaght, we regularly attract crowds of around 4,000 people, including many families, and these dozen or so individuals do not fit in at Shamrock Rovers.
"We understand the FAI is carrying out an investigation into the incident, and we intend to fully cooperate with that inquiry," the statement concluded.