Friday evening’s Irish Premier Division match between Waterford and Shamrock Rovers took a terrifying turn when fireworks were set off in the direction of the pitch during the first half – forcing the referee to swiftly suspend play.
Having been crowned champions for a second successive season last week, it should have been a night of celebration for Rovers. However, their visit to the Waterford Regional Sports Centre will instead be remembered for the ugly scenes that took place at the 15-minute mark.
Shortly after the hosts took a surprise lead, a number of fireworks were aimed at players, reportedly by fans in the away end.
Players from both sides were sent ducking for cover as several explosions went off in the Waterford half of the pitch. Most concerning of all, it appeared that a Waterford player had been injured by a piece of flying debris, as footage showed him clutching at his eye whilst on the ground.
Thankfully, though, nobody is believed to have been seriously hurt in the incident.
You can check out the chaotic scenes below:
Watch: Fireworks fired at pitch during Irish Premier Division match
Match official Rob Hennessy took the players back to the dressing room as boos rang around the ground to let the mindless offenders know exactly what the majority of the crowd thought of their actions.
An eight-minute suspension of play followed – after which it was determined that the match could continue.
After the action got back underway, Rovers eventually took all three points – thanks to a trio of strikes in the final 20 minutes.
Their 3-1 victory, however, will be marred by the reckless behaviour of a few of their fans. Such conduct has no place in sport – or society in general. Hopefully, those responsible are identified and punished appropriately.
What should be praised, though, is the quick-thinking (and bravery) of the officials and staff who rushed on to the pitch to help ensure the safety of the players.
Truly scary moments – and something that we hope never to see again.
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