Former Republic of Ireland manager Brian Kerr has referred to the postponed match between Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers at Dalymount Park as both a “a shambles” and “an embarrassment".
The Dublin derby was scheduled for a 7:45pm kick-off on Monday night but referee Tomás Connolly called the game off less than an hour before kick-off due to what he deemed an “unsafe” playing surface.
Speaking to RTÉ Sport following the decision to postpone the game, Connolly said: “There was work carried out on the pitch three hours before kick-off and it has left the pitch in an unsafe condition for the players.
"I spoke personally with the groundsman and he informed me that it takes eight days for sand to bed down. If any part of that pitch is unsafe, I have a duty of care for the players.”
Bohemians actually played a league match on Friday night, beating Drogheda United and the pitch got the go-ahead for that game, although concerns were raised with the club in relation to an area around the penalty spot.
Bohs looked to ameliorate the situation by carrying out work on the affected area ahead of last night’s game, which ironically backfired on the Dublin club as the “improved” pitch failed the inspection.
“The delegate on Friday raised concerns about the penalty spot,” said Bohs chairman Matt Devaney.
“The penalty spot is the issue here; I don’t think the ref has concerns about the other areas.
“We got some remedial work done over the weekend so it’s actually in a better state now than it was on Friday.”
But the former international boss and current RTÉ football pundit Kerr felt that the entire scenario was badly managed and reflected very poorly on the league in general.
“I don’t know if it was the right decision but overall it was a shambles,” said Kerr on RTÉ Sport’s Soccer Republic show.
“I was at the game on Friday night and I thought that the pitch looked quite poor. And the president admitted that there were concerns about the pitch.
“And the referee said there was work carried out on the pitch three hours before the game, yet he only arrived an hour and a half before the game.
“So if there were concerns raised on Friday night, why were they only waiting until three hours before the game to try to fix it?
“They are training on the pitch on a regular basis and there are also games being played on the pitch, I understand, that are not Bohemians first-team matches,
“So the pitch isn’t in great shape, it’s not receiving regular attention and tonight it all comes to a head with an absolute shambles for everyone that wanted to go and see the game and for the players who were playing the game.
“It’s just a mess. It’s almost unbelievable, but it’s happened in our league and it’s embarrassing.”
Fellow Soccer Republic pundit Stuart Byrne agreed with Kerr and feels that the fault lies with the Dalymount Park club.
“I think the club have dropped the ball on this one and I agree with Brian,” said Byrne.
“They have had three days, or the best part of two days to at least get better work done on it and to inform the proper people about the situation and could have had the pitch checked a lot earlier.
“And just looking at some of the remedial work that was done there, It’s very patchy and no real sand to level off the surface but ultimately and if there is an area, especially in and around the penalty box that has a lot of give in it and if somebody runs into that the wrong way or tries to turn, they’re going to break their leg.”