Ulster Council secretary Danny Murphy has insisted the stewards at Páirc Esler were “in control” of the flashpoints in the stand during Sunday’s drawn Ulster club quarter-final between Kilcoo and Crossmaglen.
A number of unsavoury incidents occurred in the first half of an explosive tie, with a supporter allowed to walk down the steps and get involved in a heated exchange with a section of the Crossmaglen substitutes on two separate occasions.
Murphy, who was the event controller in Newry, accepted the game was “a very tense affair” but defended the stewards’ role and denied they had failed to act.
“The report I have from the stewards was that it was banter and they were in control of the situation,” he said.
“We have CCTV footage but the man controlling the cameras during the game brought nothing to my attention. Unless someone has created a misdemeanour and as long as they operate within the ground regulations, they have a right to be in the ground.
“If they don’t operate within the ground regulations, they can be ejected. However sometimes if you intervene, you can end up with a bigger problem. According to my information, the stewards assessed the situation and were quite satisfied they were able to manage it.”
The Armagh and Down champions also met in last year’s Ulster final, a game overshadowed by allegations of racist abuse against Crossmaglen player Aaron Cunningham. Cunningham, who was injured for Sunday’s game, was sitting amongst the substitutes in Páirc Esler on Sunday.
“The game, in my mind, was too tense and that was transmitted onto the pitch with the incident before the game,” said Murphy.
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