Amateur League clubs Barn United and Dromara Village have been fined £500 and severely warned as to their future conduct by the IFA Disciplinary Committee for their part in an on-the-field brawl which forced referee David Dunlop to abandon the game in the 93rd minute.
The committee heard from the referee who said players and officials were kicking and punching and stamping in what was one of the worst scenes ever witnessed on a football field.
The referee said he could have issued at least 16 red cards but there was so much going on, that he was not in a position to take action against one single individual without punishing the rest.
There was praise for Barn manager Alan Campbell whom the referee said “Was a credit to his club as he appealed for commonsense to prevail and helped to calm the situation down.”
The referee’s report also said that at one stage, there were at least eight separate fights taking place on the pitch at 10 yards, 20 yard and 40 yard intervals.
Dromara goalkeeper Liam Hartley was suspended for three matches for throwing punches after a teammate had allegedly been head-butted by a Barn player - something the referee did not witness.
Hartley said he was merely defending himself and did not initially punch, but pushed the player whom he considered had done the head-butting.
Dromara’s Graham McDonagh who has served a three-match ban for violent conduct in the game, was given a further one-match suspension for re-entering the team dugout and being on the field of play after receiving a red card.
Larne Tech OB and Sport & Leisure have each been fined £250 and severely warned about their conduct in a game at the Glen Road venue on January 10.
Incidents took place involving players and officials at the end of the match which referee Norman Thompson described as difficult to handle.
“All 22 players, subs and officials were involved in a mass confrontation,” he said.
Both clubs argued that many of the officials were trying to break up fights and were not directly involved.
Larne’s assistant manger Sammy Smyth was previously give an automatic four-match suspension from January 23 and fined £75 for abusive language to the referee. He did not appeal the sanction.
Mid-Ulster’s Broomhedge player Darren Addis was fined £250 after being sent off and then re-entering the field to celebrate an equalising goal against Portadown BBOB. The incident also led to the referee abandoning the match
Meanwhile, IFA president Raymond Kennedy (pictured above) has condemned the recent rise in attacks on referees.
“I am disgusted to hear about the rise in violent attacks on referees and those people and clubs found guilty will be dealt with. There is no place in football for violence,” he said.