A politician was thrown out of Friday night's Cork City vs St Patrick's Athletic League of Ireland soccer match by gardaí after a crowd protest against FAI executive vice president John Delaney.
The Irish Examiner understands Sinn Féin TD for Cork North Central Jonathan O'Brien - who is a former chair of the supporters' group which helped save the club from extinction - was removed during the match after attempting to calm the incident.
In a scene mirroring similar protests at games across the country, Cork City fans unfurled a large tricolour at Friday night's game emblazoned with the slogan "Delaney out".
The slogan is in reference to John Delaney, who is facing fan and political calls to resign due to financial questions surrounding the FAI.
It is understood that stewards at the match at Cork City's Turner's Cross ground approached the fans with the tricolour and ordered them to take it down, after previously preventing another "Delaney out" banner from being shown.
After fans refused to do so, stewards confiscated the tricolour, at which point a verbal row occurred.
Stewards then asked support unit gardaí - who one witness described as looking like "riot police" - to appear.
Mr O Brien, who was not involved in the "Delaney out" tricolour or the initial row, intervened to try and calm the situation down.
‘Delaney Out’ banner was taken down at this stage. People can decide for themselves who over reacted. https://t.co/IGPALL8Zsr— Jonathan O'Brien (@JOBrien_SF) April 13, 2019
However, during this incident, he was allegedly grabbed by gardaí and escorted from the stadium.
It is understood Mr O'Brien at no stage became aggressive, and that the protest itself was only ever intended to be peaceful.
It is also understood Mr O'Brien was not charged or arrested with any offence and was simply asked to leave after being removed from the stadium.
While such a garda presence is unusual at a League of Ireland match, unrelated crowd trouble at the recent reverse fixture between the two clubs was one of the reasons put forward for their attendance at Friday night's game.
Update: Cork City FC have broken their silence since footage of the incident emerged on social media last night.
"The club is aware of discussion around an incident that took place during last night’s game at Turner’s Cross," the club wrote on their website in a statement posted on their social media channels.
"The club intends to review reports and speak to all parties concerned. The board is committed to making visits to Turner’s Cross an enjoyable one for all supporters. We apologise for any upset these actions caused for our supporters/staff and will review all of the club’s internal security procedures with our event controller and gardaí."
Cork City FC also appealed to anyone with footage of the incident to send into the club so they could review it.
- Additional reporting Digital Desk