Waterford manager Alan Reynolds has described the mass brawl at the end of their 2-1 victory over Cork City on Friday as like “all hell breaking loose”.
Referee Rob Rogers showed red cards to two players from each side — Garry Buckley and Steven Beattie for City and Bastien Hery and Stanley Aborah for Waterford, as well as sending both managers to the stands — after chaos reigned in injury time at the RSC.
City boss John Caulfield accepts he was in the wrong for crossing the white line in an attempt to retrieve the ball for a throw-in as the opposition tried to run down the clock but it was when he approached Hery and the player reacted by pushing him to the ground, that the situation erupted into a mass melee.
Offering his view of what happened, Reynolds said: “The ball came into our dugout. We were taking our time, you would say, and the next minute it comes out and I’m looking out onto the pitch and all hell is breaking loose. It was messy after a good game. Tempers flared and it’s a Munster derby with three points at stake. I don’t think it meant to get out of hand the way it did.”
Reynolds said he wasn’t sure why he had been sent off. “I was standing beside (City full-back) Shane Griffin and he was saying to the referee, ‘he (Reynolds) wasn’t involved in that’. Maybe if you send one manager off, you have to send off the other.”
Reynolds knows his City counterpart well from his own time at Turner’s Cross.
“John Caulfield is passionate about Cork City and Irish football and he’s out trying to do the best for his team. But our players don’t need to react like that either.
“I don’t know what happened that it got that reaction from them. I’ll need to look back at that.
“Bastian Hery wouldn’t (normally) react like that. If anything, I’m trying to get a bit of fire and steel into him, so I’m surprised.
“I’ve spoken to players. That’s not something we want at the football club and no doubt John doesn’t want it.”
Caulfield accepts that he shouldn’t have encroached on the pitch. “I was trying to get the ball back to start the game again,” he explained. “I crossed the line and, in fairness to the referee Rob Rogers, he said, ‘Look John, I have to send you off.’ That’s fine.”
But the City manager was also disappointed with the reaction of some of his own players.
“You have to have discipline in your players so we’d be disappointed with what happened on our side,” he said.
“We’ll see what did happen and deal with that but they (Waterford) will suffer big time as well. I suppose we both have to review what happened. There were incidents in the tunnel with one or two of the players before the end. The bigger picture is that at half-time you’re in control of the match and at the end of 90 minutes you’ve thrown away the match. We gave away soft goals and didn’t play as well as we should have.”
While both clubs wait to see what further sanctions are likely to be applied beyond the mandatory one-match bans for the four players, the bad end to Friday’s game couldn’t detract from another milestone night in the top flight for last year’s First Division winners, a 2-1 comeback victory against the champions in front of a rapturous full house seeing Waterford go level on points with Dundalk at the top of the table as Cork dropped to third.
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