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Cliftonville fans boycott Belfast derby over ticket allocation

By John Mulgrew

Cliftonville fans have boycotted their side’s north Belfast derby against Crusaders which was originally postponed due to loyalist Union flag protesters.

Reds fans boycotted the fixture after being offered an allocation of just 200 tickets, after their clash was abandoned in February following a flag protest close to the ground.

A small handful of people gathered outside Seaview before Monday night's kick-off against Crusaders.

There was a small police presence with several of those gathered displaying placards.

In the stands several Cliftonville players — including Joe Gormley and Ryan Catney —enjoyed a bite to eat, surrounded by hundreds of empty seats.

The game had been called off following talks between the clubs, after around 20 protesters clashed with police outside the Shore Road ground prior to the start of the Belfast derby.

At the time former Belfast Lord Mayor Jim Rodgers said the decision to postpone the match was taken too hastily.

Mr Rodgers — himself a lifelong member of Glentoran FC who worked with Sport NI for over a decade — said he was disappointed the game between “two great clubs” was called off.

Crusaders defeated Cliftonville 3 - 0 during the rescheduled game.

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