Matt Nugent, 76, suffered a heart attack at the final whistle on Wednesday night, with the game between Tipperary and Limerick heading into extra time. A crowd of 20,000 watched the match.
However, a supporter standing near Mr Nugent in the Old Stand at Semple Stadium said it took over 10 minutes for oxygen to arrive.
“I was standing near him and it was just ridiculous that it took so long to get help,” said Tipperary supporter Jim Ryan. “It took more than 10 minutes for the oxygen to arrive. He had to wait another five minutes before the medics were able to get a drip to him. I just couldn’t believe what was happening. There is no way that extra time should have been played when this man was dying.”
Mr Ryan, who has attended dozens of games at Semple Stadium, tried to run on the pitch to have the fixture abandoned. “I was so angry that I even tried to get on the field to stop the match because there wasn’t enough being done to help the poor man,” he said.
However, the chairman of the Tipperary county board, Con Hogan, insisted there were two ambulances in the ground at all times.
“We are fully satisfied that everything that could have been done was done to help Matt Nugent. He was attended to in the ground by a nurse and by Dr Mary Ryan,” he said. Mr Hogan said there were sufficient medics and medical equipment in Semple Stadium to cater for an incident of this nature. “After talking to Dr Ryan this morning, I’m satisfied that all the safety requirements were met. We want to extend our sympathy to Mr Nugent’s family, he was a great GAA man,” he said.
However, Mr Ryan still believes the response time was too slow: “This was a big game and I don’t think they were prepared at all for something like this to happen.”
Mr Nugent who lived in Kilmylor close to Bansha in Co Tipperary was married with a grown-up family.
He was an inter-county football umpire who officiated with Bansha referee John Moloney at an All-Ireland football final in the 1980’s.