Irish FA inquires into alleged brawl after Gillespie slip

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The Independent Online

Irish Football Association officials were last night investigating an alleged fight between the Sheffield United winger Keith Gillespie and West Ham defender George McCartney.

Trouble flared on board a flight home from Reykjavik following Northern Ireland's Euro 2008 qualifier against Iceland on Wednesday. The alleged brawl came after Northern Ireland's chances of qualifying for next year's finals had been dealt a blow when Gillespie scored a last-minute own goal to give Iceland a 2-1 victory.

McCartney has just returned to the squad following a two-year exile during the former manager Lawrie Sanchez's reign.

Players were taking their seats on the flight when the fight allegedly broke out. Punches were thrown before other squad members quickly intervened, according to witnesses.

In contrast to Northern Ireland, Wales had a good night on Wednesday with their 5-2 win in Slovakia, and the captain Craig Bellamy was likened by his coach John Toshack to another former Newcastle and Liverpool striker.

The West Ham man scored twice, hit a post, had a goal disallowed and had a part in all three of the other goals in a display that Toshack described as "scintillating". He said: "Craig has produced this sort of form for us before. He reminds me of Kevin Keegan at his very best, stretching defences, pulling people around and scoring goals.

"He was disappointed to have ended last season at Liverpool sitting on the bench for the Champions League final and not getting a chance to play, and that maybe has inspired him now."

Fifa will not take any action after Denmark officials asked the governing body to investigate security at the Women's World Cup when men were found covertly filming a "tactical session" at the Danish side's Wuhan hotel. Team officials also discovered men with cameras at a closed training session on Monday, before their opening match against hosts China two days later.

A day later, Denmark officials found two men with a camera in a room behind a mirror facing a room in which the team were having a "tactical session". Upon being discovered, the men refused to come out.

Denmark lost 3-2 to China in Wednesday's match thanks to a late strike by the midfielder Song Xiaoli.

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