A MAN who caused a “significant disturbance” in Thomond Park on the night of the Manchester City and Limerick FC friendly claimed in court that gardai accused him of throwing a banana onto the pitch.
The match attracted national headlines both here and in the UK after a banana was thrown at Manchester City star Gael Clichy, by another person.
Mark Reddan, 28, from Cregan Avenue, Kileely, was charged with failing to comply with garda orders and being threatening and abusive in the East Terrace of Thomond Park on August 5, 2012.
However, Garda Padraic Sutton, said there was “no suggestion that he threw the banana or anything of the sort.”
Garda Sutton, who is also a FIFA referee, told Limerick District Court that during the course of the game some items were thrown at the Manchester City bench from the East Terrace. He moved up to the terrace, where there were reports of “disorganised conduct”, at 8.10pm and saw a 6’ 7” man sitting on top of an exit, where he was blocking the views of patrons and blocking the exit.
He said the defendant became aggressive and started shouting at the garda to “f***ing relax” when he asked him to stand, as he was obliged to do in the terrace. When he instructed that he should move or face arrest, Reddan wrapped himself around a metal bar and said ‘F*** off. That he wouldn’t be moving anywhere’.
Two other gardai arrived and had to physically remove him from the metal post.
“I was simply asking him to take a standing position as everyone else was. It was not an unreasonable request,” said Garda Sutton.
Solicitor Sarah Ryan said her client would have blocked more views by standing up, as he is “very tall”. However, the garda said he was sitting in an elevated position. She said he held on to the metal bar “because he felt he had done nothing wrong and wanted to stay on to watch the match”.
Wearing a Munster rugby top, Reddan took to the witness box and said a steward and another garda had passed him earlier and no one asked him to get down. He said he sat down because his legs were tired from standing.
“I’m disputing his [the garda’s] evidence 100%. I got down and he couldn’t give me a reason why I should leave. Then he said to me, ‘Oh, you threw the banana.’ He did accuse me,” said Reddan.
Inspector Seamus Ruane said: “There is nothing being said in this court about you and a banana.”
Reddan, a father with 22 previous convictions, was ordered to do 200 hours of community service. Judge Ni Chonduin said “he made a nuisance of himself”.