League of Ireland fans are no strangers to police thuggery. Marcas Maccaoimhín looks at a recent incident.
The recent meeting of longford town and bohemians saw supporter-garda relations reach a new low. Pepper spray, a riot control substance which is banned for use in warfare and was not even deemed necessary in london this summer, was deployed. Bohs fans had been enjoying pre-match pints and mingling with locals for two hours prior to arriving at the ground without incident and were surprised to be greeted by the presence of dog and armed response units. This alone seemed over the top for a game with an attendance of around eight hundred but what followed was surreal. After five bohs fans were refused admission to the ground, a few of their friends were prevented from leaving in protest by stewards. When one person attempted to force the gate, riot police intervened with batons, dogs and pepper spray. Several bystanders who had been queuing for toilets were caught up in this unnecessary use of force and at least one individual was sprayed while already lying on the ground in agony.
The aftermath, with civil defence personnel treating the wounded resembled a world war one field hospital.