Sectarian abuse pushed me over edge - states Crusaders' Gerard Doherty
Crusaders’ keeper Gerard Doherty says he was pushed to his limits by sectarian and personal during Saturday’s Irish Cup defeat to Glentoran but accepted his behaviour following the final whistle was ‘totally unprofessional’.
The former Derry City number one was red carded by referee Andrew Davey, after lobbing bottles, initially thrown at him, back at Glentoran fans following the quarter-final tie at the Oval.
“I totally hold my hands up, my reaction was completely unprofessional,” insisted Doherty.
“I have experienced plenty in football before and should have been big and bad enough to take it on the chin.
“However, the verbal abuse that you are sadly forced to get use to is not right. It was just frustration at the end. The abuse is bad enough but once they started throwing things on at me, I thought it was out of order and I reacted.
“Obviously my reaction is not warranted and I should have been professional enough to deal with the situation and just walk off but we are human beings.
“During the last five or 10 minutes of the game emotions were running high for a lot of people and it boiled over. That was evident to see at the end.”
Doherty fully accepted his reaction was wrong but said the sectarian and personal abuse from some sections of the home support tipped him over the edge.
“It’s sad because I suppose I should have got used to that over the years,” he added.
“Having played in the League of Ireland for so long, in certain away grounds the crowd are right beside you so you know you are going to get a bit of stick and stuff.
“However I feel it over steps the mark a bit when it turns into sectarian shouts or stuff like where you are from. I can’t see the sense in that.
“It was the same when we played Glentoran at home. They are literally a couple of feet away and you can see the anger on their faces and they are shouting things at you. I don’t know where it comes from.
“These guys probably don’t even realise that they have signed a couple of players who live a few streets away from me and I told them that when we played them at Seaview.
“I wasn’t happy with some of the shouts and whenever the bottles started coming in, it was a bad reaction from me and one for which I unreservedly apologise.
“It’s not on, I know that, but I felt that I had been pushed to my limit.”
As spokesman from Glentoran stated: “The matter of Crusaders ‘players’ behaviour is one for Crusaders and the football authorities to address based on the referee’s report so it wouldn’t be appropriate for Glentoran to comment.
“Our club has commenced an internal investigation into allegations that a plastic bottle was thrown from the Sydenham End and will act accordingly based on the outcome.
“Glentoran has always been a particularly welcoming and inclusive club and this well deserved reputation will be rigorously maintained.”