A group of Cork City fans involved in a pre-match fight with visiting Bohemians supporters are missing a historically successful season for the League of Ireland leaders as they are banned from Turners Cross stadium, writes Liam Heylin.
City have cruised to 12 wins in 12 games but some of their fans, who pleaded guilty to engaging in a violent disorder, are missing out.
Solicitor Frank Buttimer, representing several of the excluded fans, said: “I don’t wish to make light of it but they are missing the best season of their lives.”
Inspector Ronan Kennelly said the DPP had complimented Sgt Alan Cronin for the quality and professionalism of his identification which saw extensive labelling through CCTV of the individual actions of those involved.
Judge Olann Kelleher, at Cork District Court yesterday, said: “This is a tragic situation where people go to matches and behave like this. The court takes a very serious view of it.”
He said he also had to show regard for the residents of the Turner’s Cross area and the havoc caused to them by such violence.
Sgt Cronin said the incident occurred prior to a match between Cork City and Bohs at Turner’s Cross on July 31, 2015. Before the melee, a group of Bohs fans were in Murphy’s Garden and a group of Cork fans were making their way from the Evergreen Bar.
Two spotters from the Bohs group ran to alert their group some Cork fans were on the way. An altercation started and bottles and stones were thrown. Gardaí later established 38 people were involved in the violent incident.
Some were dealt with by gardaí through adult cautions and others via the juvenile liaison scheme.
Seven defendants pleaded guilty yesterday to engaging in an affray such that a person of reasonable firmness might be in fear due to the use of or threat of violence.
Sgt Cronin said: “Bottles and stones were thrown. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured. Some of the Cork fans walked away. Some stayed around but did not get involved. Amazingly, some of the groups went back into the bar and drank.”
He said the clash followed a similar incident in Dublin before a match between the teams in May 2015.
Sharon Brooks represented Andrew Byrne, aged 18, of 3 Rollins Court, Sallynoggin, Dublin, who is to get the benefit of a dismissal under the Probation of Offenders Act on paying €400 to Simon.
Cameron Ashworth, aged 22, of 19 Sillogue Park, Ballymun, Dublin, failed to appear. A warrant was issued for his arrest.
Only one man was jailed for his part in the incident.
Judge Olann Kelleher said John Hayes, 24, of 11 Lower Derrynane Rd, Turner’s Cross, had previously suspended jail terms for other offences.
Fines of €400 were imposed on the remaining five defendants, all represented by Mr Buttimer. None had previous convictions.
They were Morgan Carey, aged 27, who lives an apartment at Hanover Mews, Cork; Jason Kelly, aged 24, of 6 Brandon Crescent, Dillon’s Cross, Cork; Colin McConnell, aged 20, of 38 The Demesne , Killester, Dublin; Tony McKeown, aged 18, of 15 The Gates, Matthew Hill, Lehenaghmore, Cork, and Christopher O’Connor, aged 24, 40 Fairfield Green, Farranree, Cork.
This article first appeared in the Irish Examiner