Belfast Telegraph

Armagh GAA fans accused of ‘horrendous’ behaviour at Westmeath match

By John Campbell

Armagh GAA officials are remaining tight-lipped for now following scathing condemnation of some of their supporters by a rival county's officials.

Serious allegations were made at a board meeting in relation to the behaviour of some Orchard County followers at the recent All-Ireland qualifier between Armagh and Westmeath at Cusack Park in Mullingar.

While Armagh won the tie, some Westmeath officials are claiming that the game was overshadowed by off-field issues.

It is alleged that some Armagh followers became embroiled in a war of words with the Westmeath management team and a section of the team's followers.

It is understood, too, that some delegates in particular at the Westmeath board meeting were trenchant in their criticism of some Armagh followers, with words such as "aggressive" and "horrendous" being employed at the meeting.

Indeed, Coralstown-Kinnegad delegate Joe Keeffe stated that the abuse referee Padraig O'Sullivan received was "nothing short of scandalous".

He added: "It's an education to Westmeath fans to see the sort of abuse you can give referees and get away with it.

"It was frightening.

"There were 4,000 Armagh fans and only a thousand Westmeath supporters.

"They completely took over Cusack Park and intimidated everyone that was there."

Westmeath football committee chairman Dermot Fox suggested that some of the Armagh supporters had arrived early in the town and had visited the local hostelries.

"By the time they got to the ground, they were inebriated," he claimed.

While it is known that Armagh GAA chiefs have digested the tone of the allegations at the Westmeath board meeting, it is understood that they are reluctant to engage in a war of words with the midland county.

It has been learned, too, that Armagh officials believe the Westmeath revelations are timed to coincide with the immediate build-up to their county's all-important qualifier showdown against Kildare at Croke Park on Saturday.

It may well be that the Armagh board will in time respond to the Westmeath allegations, but for now the whole focus is to remain on Saturday's headquarters clash with the Lilywhites.

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