Belfast Telegraph

Police appeal for witnesses after violence at cup final leaves club official with fractured cheekbone

By Cate McCurry

A Belfast football club official sustained a fractured cheekbone after a mass brawl broke out during celebrations at a junior cup final.

It happened on Wednesday night at the County Antrim Junior Shield final between Suffolk and Woodvale. After Suffolk won 3-1, they were presented with the trophy. However, celebrations were cut short when a number of supporters and Woodvale club officials clashed.

It's understood a Woodvale official suffered a fractured cheekbone during the altercation and is to undergo surgery on Monday.

He is one of three people who received injuries during the brawl.

Shocking video footage of the incident emerged online showing the fight unfolding moments after Suffolk were presented with their winning shield. In one clip, a man is seen running in the direction of a Woodvale official before the pair become embroiled in a melee.

It then escalates and involves scores of spectators and players.

Woodvale manager Frank McAllister said that a number of incidents arose during the game when Suffolk fans "targeted" their officials.

"The supporters were repeatedly throwing drink and missiles over Woodvale officials in the dugout," he said.

"During the game, we protested four times to County Antrim officials that this was happening but nothing was done about it.

"I don't mind people shouting, but not when they are throwing drink, cigarettes, baps and lids over us. After the game was over, those perpetrators were on the pitch and then there was a reaction from people who took the brunt of their actions."

The football boss said the fight could have been prevented if disruptive supporters were removed from the stadium. He added that he "regretted" the incident.

Secretary of the County Antrim FA, Bernard Thompson, said enquiries and investigations were under way.

Mr Thompson said: "The Co Antrim FA have launched an investigation into the incidents that occurred after the Toals Junior Shield final between Suffolk FC and Woodvale FC at Seaview Stadium.

"The Association will also be assisting the PSNI with their enquires and investigations."

A spokeswoman for the PSNI said: "Police in north Belfast have received a report of an altercation after an amateur football match ended at grounds on the Shore Road. The match between Suffolk FC and Woodvale FC was taking place at Seaview.

"Anyone who attended the match and witnessed the incident is asked to contact police at Tennent Street."

The manager of Suffolk FC did not respond to a request for comment.

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