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03rd Jun 2023

“Tyrone supporters were baying for blood” – Ciaran Whelan recalls battle of Omagh

Lee Costello

“We certainly weren’t innocent.”

Ciaran Whelan was working as part of The Sunday Game punditry team for Tyrone’s game against Armagh and recalls the infamous Battle of Omagh back in 2006.

The memories were flooding back for Whelan who was right in the middle of the game that saw a melee break out in the middle of the match and spread into the crowd at Healy Park.

Ciaran Whelan

Tyrone were the reigningAll-Ireland champions while the dubs were trying to make a statement and even though it was only a league game, things got very heated.

Standing alongside Peter Canavan on RTE, the former Dublin midfielder described the scenes that day.

“It was the battle of Omagh in 2006. I was lucky that they had a personal security guard who picked me out on the outskirts and we went on a tour.

Ciaran Whelan

“A lot has changed here (in Healy Park_ there used to be dressing rooms behind the stand, and you had to run the gauntlet after the game – there was a lot of tension that day, let’s put it that way.

“It was probably deservedly so, we certainly weren’t innocent.”

Canavan, who had just retired the year before the incident was quick to chip in.

“He made a very quick getaway, that’s what he’s trying to say,” Canavan added.

“Well basically, the bus had to reverse to the dressing room door and we had to get onto the back exit of the bus to get out of here because the Tyrone supporters were baying for blood after that game.”

Dublin did win that game, but wouldn’t defeat Tyrone in the championship until 2010, when the tables turned in favour of the capital, and it has been them who have been dominated in the fixture since.

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