Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Biting Back: Brawl scenes at the Milk Cup were shameful

A mass brawl abruptly ends the Northern Ireland and Mexico game at the Coleraine showgrounds
A mass brawl abruptly ends the Northern Ireland and Mexico game at the Coleraine showgrounds Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press

The Dale Farm Milk Cup is one of Northern Ireland's sporting gems.

Labelled the biggest youth tournament in Europe, it has to be run as such – and given the big names that come back year after year it is obvious that it's organised as professionally as it gets.

So those in charge deserve credit for acting quickly in response to the ugly incidents that marred Wednesday's Elite section match between Northern Ireland and Mexico.

In case you missed it, there were TWO brawls during the game and four players were sent off – three Mexicans and one of our boys.

The shameful scenes were reported across the globe and millions have viewed video footage, via YouTube and Vine.

Therefore it was vital Milk Cup's disciplinary chiefs came down hard on the culprits.

On top of automatic one-match suspensions, one Mexican and Northern Ireland's Robbie McDaid have been given a further one-match ban, while the other Mexico players had two extra games added to their suspensions.

In effect, however, other than that quartet being ruled out of tonight's final round of matches the Milk Cup bosses are – sadly – powerless when it comes to disciplinary issues.

In fact, the three Mexicans will probably never serve the full suspensions.

Those bans don't carry over into any other competition and with calls for Mexico to be ostracised from the Milk Cup, the players will fly home without any further sanctions.

The one player who will suffer is McDaid. He is still young enough to play in next year's tournament, but wouldn't be allowed to take part in the first game, if selected for the squad.

For the other three the punishment is akin to being slapped in the face with a feather.

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