Dundalk boss Stephen O'Donnell regrets goading Derry City fans after red card incident

DUNDALK BOSS Stephen O'Donnell said he regretted his actions as his emotionally charged goal celebrations on the touchline at Brandywell sparked fury amongst the Derry City supporters.

By Simon Collins
Saturday, 21st May 2022, 12:05 am
Updated Saturday, 21st May 2022, 12:07 am
Dundalk boss Stephen O'Donnell was shown a red card for his touchline celebrations which incensed the Derry City support.
Dundalk boss Stephen O'Donnell was shown a red card for his touchline celebrations which incensed the Derry City support.

O'Donnell, who had earlier been booked by match referee Rob Harvey for dissent, was shown a second yellow card for goading the Derry fans from his technical area as he beat his chest and faced into the Mark Farren Stand after Pat Hoban's 82nd minute winner against the Candy Stripes.

The 36 year-old Galweigian initially joined members of his playing squad in the stand behind the dugout which further incensed the home support and he was eventually escorted down the tunnel by matchday security as tensions threatened to boil over.

Afterwards O'Donnell claimed the incident was 'something I'd like to take back' as emotions got the better of him but the Lilywhites manager didn't believe his wild celebrations warranted a red card!

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"I just obviously got a bit emotional when we won the game and you can see the stand is right on top of the dugout and players and squad members are in the stand up against it," he said.

"Look, it's something I'd like to take back in regards to getting sent off and that but I don't think there was loads in it. I think it looked worse than what it was. It's just emotions, that's what football does. We score here and are on cloud nine, the home fans aren't. I don't mind that as long as it doesn't spill over. It probably spilled over a little bit there but I like the emotion. The more big crowds in the League of Ireland and the emotion in the League of Ireland I like."

The fracas in the stands resulted in a lengthy stoppage in play as some Dundalk officials and players got involved in verbal altercations with Derry supporters.

Eventually play continued and six minutes additional time was played.

Having had time to reflect on the unsavoury scenes which threatened to spoil his side's excellent victory over second placed, City, O'Donnell admitted it was the

type of incident he doesn't want to be involved in.

"It was just emotions," he stressed. "It's (the crowd) just on top of you and you're emotional. I don't think it warranted getting sent off. It was a celebration then there were sort of bits going on with our squad members just behind us so I was sort of looking to protect them as well.

"In the cold light of day you don't want to be involved in stuff like that. It's just emotions and it's good. I love playing up at the Brandywell. It's a great atmosphere, a footballing city, I've been up here a good few times with 'Higgs' (Ruaidhri Higgins) and I love the place but that's just what happens."

When asked about the incident afterwards, Higgins refused to get drawn on the incident.

"I'm not sure. I didn't see what went on," he claimed.

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