Match officials released from hospital after traffic accident

The scene of Friday night's road traffic incident in which the officials were involved
The scene of Friday night's road traffic incident in which the match officials were involved

Three Irish League match officials have been discharged from hospital after being involved in a serious traffic incident while travelling to a game.

Friday's fixture between Newry City and Glentoran was postponed after the crash on the Warrenpoint Road in Newry.

The Northern Ireland Football League confirmed on Saturday that Ross Dunlop, Mark O'Brien and Andrew Davey underwent tests but have now returned home.

"Our thoughts are with all the match officials," a NIFL statement said.

The match officials were travelling together to the game, which was scheduled to take place at the Newry Showgrounds at 19:45 GMT.

NIFL confirmed the postponement just before 19:00 GMT, saying it was due to a "serious traffic incident involving the match officials".

Glentoran and Newry City sent their best wishes to the match officials involved.

"We extend our best wishes and hope they will be fit and able to celebrate a happy Christmas at home with their families," the Glentoran statement added.

David Malcolm, former referee who represents senior football on the Irish FA's referees' committee, said the three men were fortunate not to suffer more serious injuries.

"I have spoken to them all this morning. Andrew and Ross were in good spirits, but Mark is much worse. He has had a very uncomfortable night," he told BBC Radio Ulster.

"Fortunately there is no long-term damage to anyone and we are very grateful for that."

The Northern Ireland Referees' Association thanked the ambulance and nursing staff of Daisy Hill Hospital who treated the three men.

"Naturally our thoughts are with our colleagues and thankfully there are no serious or lasting injuries," their statement said.

"Our colleagues also greatly appreciate all the kind messages and thoughts from the wider footballing family."