CORK Youth Leagues chiefs say firm action in the wake of a recent match abandonment will send a strong message to teams that violence of any sort will not be tolerated.
The October 14 fixture of Ballincollig and Riverstown in the Daly Industrial Supplies U17 League 1 at the Landing Field, Ballincollig, was abandoned by referee Paul Higgins in the second half after the outbreak of a melee in the wake of a Ballincollig penalty award.
Following a hearing, one player was suspended for 11 months with three receiving two-game bans.
Earlier this week, it emerged that seven games in the Dublin & District Schoolboys League were abandoned over a six-week period due to brawls.
However, CYL fixtures secretary John Finnegan is happy that the game in Ballincollig was an isolated incident and says that the firm stance of the league will act as a deterrent.
“This was dealt with very quickly,” he says.
“The referee delivered his report in a prompt manner after the game.
“We spoke to the two clubs and they were very much in agreement that this was unacceptable.
“The incident arose late in a game that Riverstown were winning, Ballincollig were awarded a penalty and a Riverstown player struck a Ballincollig player with more joining the scuffle before a larger number of people became involved.
“The referee had no choice but to abandon the game.
“We were keen to show that this would not be tolerated and one player was suspended for 11 months, with three more players given two-game bans.
“It was also unfortunate for Riverstown that, despite leading the game, Ballincollig were awarded the points.
“I would like to stress that this was a one-off occurrence, it has been a number of years since a game in the Cork Youth Leagues, or Munster Senior Leagues, was abandoned due to something like this happening.
“We are at all times firm in our stance that this kind of thing won’t be accepted if and when it happens.
“Once again, I’d give the referee and clubs involved credit for helping us to deal with the matter.”