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25th May 2016

Meath man arrested in Westport after heated row with locals over the 1996 All-Ireland Final

Conor Heneghan

20 years on, old wounds still haven’t healed.

A Meath man was ordered to pay a €100 fine in court recently arising from an incident that occurred in Westport last October.

According to the Mayo News, 29-year old Meath man Seán Fitzsimmons was arrested in Westport on October 4 last after a heated row with locals in a chip shop about the 1996 All-Ireland Final clash between Mayo and Meath.

For those of you who might not be aware, it took a replay to separate the sides and it was an extremely contentious affair.

The second contest featured arguably the most infamous brawl in the history of the GAA, with virtually every player becoming involved in an unseemly row at the start of the game.

Clip via MuscularChristianity

Despite the involvement of nearly every player from both sides, only two players were issued with red cards – Meath’s Colm Coyle and Mayo’s Liam McHale – and the fallout from the game lasted for a long time afterwards.

Pat Spillane, for one, certainly wasn’t impressed when analysing the game on The Sunday Game that night.

Clip via Mike Gallagher

Time obviously hasn’t healed all wounds because on the night in question, 19 years after the game took place, Garda Darren Conlon observed the defendant engaged in an aggressive manner with a group on Castlebar Street, Westport at 3.57am.

Mr Fitzsimmons was asked to move on and initially did that, but subsequently shouted back at the group, at which point he was arrested by Garda Conlon, who issued him with a fixed charge penalty notice, which he failed to pay.

The Mayo News report that Judge Mary Devins joked that she was going to give Mr Fitzsimmons the benefit of the probation act if he paid €100 as a contribution to the Mayo team.

However, when she heard he had a previous conviction for public order, she said she could not do that and fined him €100.