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Cliftonville chairman Gerard Lawlor subjected to verbal abuse at Windsor Park

Cliftonville chairman Gerard Lawlor has said a "bunch of yahoos" subjected him to verbal abuse at Windsor Park. Picture by Hugh Russell
John Monaghan

THE chairman of Cliftonville FC was subjected to verbal abuse from a group of Linfield fans during Saturday's clash at Windsor Park.

Angry fans took to social media on Sunday claiming Gerard Lawlor had received abuse after the game, which Cliftonville won 2-1 with a dramatic late winner from substitute Ross Lavery.

One Cliftonville fan tweeted: "The Cliftonville chairman was surrounded by a mob of Linfield fans after the game and subjected to abuse and threats in South Stand."

Mr Lawlor himself tweeted after the game: "Well that was an eventful afternoon of football!! But really 3pts and the outstanding performance of our team is all that really matters!!"

The Cliftonville FC chairman told The Irish News on Sunday while some Linfield fans directed abuse at him, the reports had been "blown out of proportion."

He said he did not believe the incident was connected to his side's late winner.

Mr Lawlor said: "They were a bunch of yahoos who decided to give their opinion. They weren't that close by and I walked inside."

In 2013, Cliftonville goalkeeper Conor Devlin and then team-mate Liam Boyce, who now plays for Scottish side Ross County, said they needed police escorts after being subjected to sectarian abuse while watching a game at Windsor Park between Linfield and Glentoran.

"All fans were dead on and having a bit of banter but there is always one to ruin it," said Mr Boyce on Twitter at the time.

Two men were later reported to the Public Prosecution Service over the chanting, with police stating that a third man was ejected from the ground and a fourth received a caution.

The result on Saturday takes Cliftonville to third place and within one point of Linfield, while Crusaders moved seven points clear at the top with a 1-0 win over Ards.

Linfield FC could not be reached for comment on Sunday.

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