Weekend trouble after Ports match ‘planned in advance’

Police  ireinforcements arrive to intervene between rival factions outside Shamrock Park, Portadown during trouble which erupted following Saturday's Portadown v Cliftonville match.  Photo by Presseye.
Police ireinforcements arrive to intervene between rival factions outside Shamrock Park, Portadown during trouble which erupted following Saturday's Portadown v Cliftonville match. Photo by Presseye.

Sources have suggested the post-match trouble on the Armagh Road last weekend was pre-arranged between groups connected to Portadown and Cliftonville football clubs.

Police officers and vehicles were used to divide two groups - each around 30 strong - following the Irish League fixture at Shamrock Park.

Police  intervene between rival factions outside Shamrock Park, Portadown during trouble which erupted following Saturday's Portadown v Cliftonville match.  Photo by Presseye.

Police intervene between rival factions outside Shamrock Park, Portadown during trouble which erupted following Saturday's Portadown v Cliftonville match. Photo by Presseye.

One witness described the scene to the ‘Times’ on Saturday evening as “Cliftonville supporters heading away from Shamrock Park towards the town centre then confronted by a group on the Armagh Road brandishing weapons”.

However, subsequent accounts have revealed communication via mobile phone leading up to the incident.

“The talk has been that it was planned in advance,” said one source. “Some got the train into Portadown and others arrived by bus.”

The PSNI moved quickly to divide the two sections before any violence could take place.

The Danske Bank Premiership match finished in a 1-0 win for Cliftonville and a Portadown official confirmed a trouble-free game.

“The match was regarded as a medium to high security risk due to the history of the fixture but there was no reason to suspect any trouble in particular,” said a club spokesman. “We followed protocol as discussed in standard pre-match meetings with PSNI officials and representatives from the two clubs.

“We had external security in place to search supporters as they entered the ground.

“The match was free from any trouble.”