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24th Feb 2018

The floodlights farce between Drogheda United and Finn Harps shouldn’t have been allowed to happen

Matthew Gault

Drogheda United

What a joke.

Friday night, 7.53pm. Referee John McLaughlin, after careful consideration, calls off Drogheda United’s clash with Finn Harps in the Airtricity League Division One.

The match was supposed to kick-off at 7.45pm but, due to several bulbs not working in the floodlights, the referee was not sufficiently happy with letting the game go ahead.

Considering it was the opening night of the season for both sides, it was nothing short of a disaster. Drogheda’s new manager, Tim Clancy, can only hope that the pitch plunging into darkness was not a portent for how his season will go.

As the announcer delivered the verdict, boos rang out around United Park. Finn Harps supporters, most of whom presumably travelled down from Donegal, were understandably displeased.

Considering how long it took for the officials to realise, one can reasonably assume that the floodlights had not been checked during preparations for Friday’s game.

With players and fans standing around on the pitch, an official announcement came eight minutes after the scheduled kick-off time. The away fans began the long trek back up to Donegal and hadn’t even seen a ball being kicked.

The Floodlights Farce. That’s what it’ll be known as. As you can see from the clip below, there were sections of the pitch that certainly looked too dark. With that in mind, we can say it was the correct decision. It’s just that it was made so late.

Due diligence and adequate planning would have prevented this. It’s getting dark at around 6pm, or even a bit earlier, these days so there was a window of opportunity in which to establish that the floodlights were in working order.

Finn Harps supporters were told they would be reimbursed for their troubles. In fairness to the Finn Harps Twitter account, they were able to see the lighter side (sorry, couldn’t resist). It was a sad state of affairs. Drogheda’s next home game is the League Cup tie against St Mochtas on Monday, 5th March. We can only hope they have the floodlights back to full brightness for that one.

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