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Shamrock Rovers look like having to begin the defence of their SSE Airtricity Premier Division title behind closed doors. 

They've been hit with a stadium ban after November's top flight game away to Waterford was held up due to crowd trouble.

Fireworks were aimed at the RSC pitch, seemingly having been fired from the away end.

Referee Rob Hennessy took the players from the pitch, after they were nearly caught up in the explosions and returned ten minutes later.

Rovers later banned two supporters for their role in the incident, saying, "It is regrettable that the actions of two individuals caused reputational damage to the club and was not reflective of the atmosphere and support from the large away crowd of over 350 Hoops fans who supported the team throughout, enjoying a 3-1 away win.”

According to the Irish Independent's Dan McDonnell, Rovers' first game of the season at home to UCD will play out in front of empty Tallaght Stadium stands.

The FAI's independent Disciplinary Control Unit handed out the punishment.

The association's rules state, "The visiting club/team is liable for improper conduct among its own group of spectators, regardless of the question of culpable conduct or culpable oversight and depending on the situation, may be fined and/or instructed to pay compensation for damages.

"Further sanctions may be imposed in the case of serious disturbances. Supporters occupying the away sector of a stadium are regarded as the visiting supporters, unless proven to the contrary."

They add, "Improper conduct includes but is not limited to violence towards persons or objects, letting off incendiary devices, causing damage to stadium facilities. throwing missiles, use of smoke bombs, flares or fireworks, displaying insulting slogans in any form, uttering insulting sounds, racist behaviour or invading or encroaching onto the pitch."

Rovers are likely to appeal the punishment, with the government's impending easing of restrictions likely to mean they can entertain close on a full house for the season opener on February 18.

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SSE Airtricity Premier Division Shamrock Rovers UCD Waterford

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