Gerard Doherty warns "more serious" incidents could happen if Irish League doesn't take action

Crusaders' Gerard Doherty.Crusaders' Gerard Doherty.
Crusaders' Gerard Doherty.
Crusaders keeper, Gerard Doherty, is hoping his season isn’t over but warned "more serious" incidents could follow if action isn't taken following his clash with Glentoran fans in Saturday’s Irish Cup tie at the Oval.

The Creggan man was given his marching orders by referee, Andrew Davey, following the final whistle after throwing bottles, initially thrown at him, back toward home fans.

Doherty accepts he is facing a ban with the IFA set to investigate. The straight red card for “violent conduct” will see an automatic three-match ban but as the incident will be included in the referee’s report, a further suspension is likely.

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“My season could be over but hopefully it’s not. I’m just waiting to see what’s coming in the referee’s report,” explained Doherty.

"Obviously the game got a bit out of hand. There were a couple of other incidents as well. They went 2-1 up and all of a sudden you can’t get a ball onto the pitch and another one of our players got frustrated with that which only added to the overall frustration.

“I’m just going to have to wait and see. Obviously I’ll be looking to put a strong case across in my own defence. In my mind, if there are no bottles landing beside me then there’s no reason for me to start throwing them back. However my reaction was unprofessional on my part, I should be big enough to deal with that.

“There are a couple of different sides to the story so hopefully it’s not ‘season over' but you never know with these situations.”

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Only a few weeks ago Warrenpoint Town goalkeeper Mark Byrne clashed with Ballymena United fans and received a six month ban, three of which are suspended for 18 months, after being found guilty of “bringing the game into disrepute” by the IFA’s disciplinary committee.

That incident didn’t shock Doherty who believes a more serious incident could happen in the future.

“When I saw that Warrenpoint incident I wasn’t shocked because I have played at every ground in the league now and you can see how close supporters are to players. The fans are literally a yard away from you and it doesn’t take much for things to boil over.

“We all get wound up in the game at times, but it only takes one incident for things to flare up. I can see different sides to the argument, but it was only a matter of time for something like what happened at Warrenpoint to happen. It needs to get sorted out before something even more serious happens.”