Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Victim's horror at Oval robbery

County Antrim FA official relives nightmare

COUNTY Antrim FA secretary Brian Dumigan today described his fears when he was held up at gunpoint outside the Oval last night.

COUNTY Antrim FA secretary Brian Dumigan today described his fears when he was held up at gunpoint outside the Oval last night.

Mr Dumigan and Co Antrim treasurer John Hamilton were putting the gate receipts from the Shield semi-final between Linfield and Glentoran in to Mr Hamilton's car when they were attacked by two masked men brandishing a handgun and a hammer.

The armed men demanded the takings, which were around £20,000, before making off with them.

The incident happened after the Big Two match which Linfield won 1-0 to book their place in the final with Ards.

Mr Dumigan, 62, explained: "John Hamilton and myself were putting the money in the back of the car when two boys with a gun and a hammer came from nowhere.

"One of them pointed a gun towards me and demanded that I hand over the money.

"For a second I did think about taking him on.

"But John was very calm about the whole thing and it was agreed to hand the money over.

"It was a very frightening experience for John and myself.

"Even the morning after I am still shaken up thinking about it."

The matter is now with the PSNI.

Dumigan, who has been involved in local football at different levels, including as a referee, for many years, expressed his disappointment that the four clubs in the semi-finals of the Co Antrim Shield, Linfield, Glentoran, Ards and Ballymena, had lost out on much needed revenue.

"I feel sorry for the four clubs because as everyone knows football here needs money and the four teams were going to get a split of the gate receipts which were considerable," he said.

"I can't believe that people would do such a thing against football."

Brian added that despite his awful experience that he would be staying involved in football.

"I have been involved all my life and I will not be stopping now," he added.

Glentoran spokesman Alex McWilliams said: "The club regret that this armed robbery occured.

"The incident is indicative of today's society.

"Glentoran are relieved that the two gentlemen and friends of the club, although shocked were not injured in this dramatic experience."

A Linfield spokesman added: "We feel for both Brian and John to have gone through an experience like this and are just glad that they were not harmed."

As for the game itself, substitute Mark Picking scored a stunning goal to win it for Linfield.

It had been evenly contested up until his wonderful strike on 72 minutes.

Blues boss David Jeffrey said: "It was a goal good enough to win any game and given the tightness of the contest it was always going to take something special. Thankfully Mark provided it."

Glens manager Roy Coyle felt his team were unlucky to lose.

It was a good night on the pitch for the Blues because title challengers Coleraine lost 3-2 to Dungannon in the league.

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