It was a case of ‘Cops stop play’, when Gardai turned up at an unauthorised pre season friendly between two NEFL teams in Drogheda last Sunday.
The game between Chord Celtic and Donnycarney FC, at Meadowview, was brought to an abrupt halt following the arrival of a third team, togged out in blue, at the venue.
And the ill advised clash could now leave organisers facing serious repercussions as Gardai have confirmed to Meath Live that a file will be prepared for the DPP, and that office has the power to authorise prosecutions.
A Garda spokesman said, ‘Gardaí attended a premises in Hazel Lane, Drogheda, of Co. Louth on 14th March 2021 and engaged with those present.
‘The Health Act 1947 (Section 31A-Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (No.10) Regulations 2020, as amended, are currently in force.
‘Where Gardaí identify potential breaches of the public health regulations a file is prepared for the DPP in each case or a Fixed Payment Notice is issued where appropriate.
‘ Where any breaches of the Health Act are detected a file will be prepared for the DPP. The DPP will then provide direction or otherwise.’
The clubs could find themselves in hot water with the football authorities as well.
NEFL secretary Gerry Gorman told Meath Live, ‘ We have been made aware of this incident, at the moment it is not a matter for the NEFL as the appropriate authorities have taken the correct course of action and dealt with the matter properly.
‘However should it be established to our satisfaction that officials from either or both clubs were actively involved in organising a game in breach of Covid regulations we would probably be compelled to investigate it further.’
A spokesman for Donnycarney Celtic said, ‘We have only just heard of this, we feel it is appropriate to let the guards deal with it, and as far as the club is concerned football is shut down, no team and we stress none of our teams should be playing at all.’
A Chord Celtic spokesman denied his side was involved at all, he said, ‘ This was not an official Chord Celtic team, the chairman, secretary or coach were not aware of it.
‘A number of players had access to our kit and were told they could use the pitch to practice free kicks, and it seems they may have been involved, but as for an official Chord side playing a friendly that didn’t happen.’