Belfast Telegraph

PSNI denies an identity crisis after hooligan cops 'get their Showgrounds mixed up'

By Ivan Little

The PSNI has put the boot into claims that it was wrong-footed in its preparations for the recent County Antrim Shield final between Linfield and Crusaders after suggestions it was caught offside by the venue.

The game was played at the Ballymena Showgrounds, but a number of people claim police carried out pre-match security checks around the Showgrounds in Coleraine - 25 miles away.

It's been confirmed that officers went to bars near the train station in Coleraine around teatime on Tuesday, February 7, and after looking around the hostelries asked workers if everything was all right.

Baffled bar staff replied that there was absolutely nothing wrong.

One drinker said: "The police were asked why they were there and why they were concerned.

"They replied that they were keeping an eye out for trouble before the big match at the Showgrounds."

He added that customers could hardly keep a straight face.

They told cops that the Blues and the Crues were actually playing down the road at the Showgrounds in Ballymena, not the Showgrounds in Coleraine.

In the past police have had to deal with disturbances among football supporters arriving by train in Coleraine and as they departed after matches.

But the PSNI has laughed off suggestions that it wasn't on the ball.

A spokesman said that police were in the area around the train station in case any troublemakers from Coleraine were getting ready to travel to Ballymena.

Linfield won the Shield final, beating their Belfast rivals 3-1. In Ballymena.

No major incidents were reported in the town. Or Coleraine.

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