Twenty years may have passed since the contentious All-Ireland final clash between Mayo and Meath, but tensions over the final are still a cause of conflict, as Westport District Court discovered.
The infamous contest in 1996 ended in a draw but the Royal county prevailed after a tense replay which was dominated by an all-in brawl. Despite the two decades which have passed since then, seemingly the sores between the two counties have not healed and still fester.
Meath-man Seán Fitzsimmons (29) with an address of Addinstown, Delvin, Co Westmeath appeared before Judge Mary Devins last week after he was arrested following an argument with locals over the 1996 All-Ireland football final.
Garda Darren Conlon explained that on October 4, 2015 he 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. However, presumably with still plenty to say on whether Seán Boylan’s men or John Maughan’s Mayo team were the instigators of the infamous brawl, he shouted back to the group.
Garda Conlon said he continued to shout back and he arrested him and issued him with a fixed charge penalty notice, which he failed to pay.
Defending solicitor, Tom Walsh said the incident started in a chip shop and confirmed the argument with the group was started over the All-Ireland Final in 1996.
He said his client, who has a degree in Agricultural Science, was in Cambodia working between November and February and the fine was issued when he was gone.
Judge 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.