Bogus bomb scare in Old Trafford ruins communion day for boy (8)

By Laura Lyne

AN EIGHT-YEAR-OLD boy from Kilnamanagh who had just made his first communion was among thousands of disappointed fans following the cancellation of Manchester United’s Premiership match against Bournemouth in Old Trafford on Sunday.

Sean Long and his father Philip made the journey to Manchester early on Sunday morning, only hours after Sean’s first communion celebrations on Saturday.

Sean Long 1 

The match was gifted to Sean for his communion by his parents and was chosen by dedicated Manchester United fans due to it being the last game of the season.

Sean and Philip were seated within the executive lounge area of the Stratford End of the stadium when a code red was triggered and they were forced to evacuate along with thousands of other fans.

The match, which was due to take place in Manchester United’s home ground of Old Trafford, was cancelled and the stadium was evacuated after a suspicious device, which later proved to be a dummy, was found within the grounds.

Sean’s father Philip told The Echo: “We were in the ground about 20 minutes and sitting in our seats. The team was doing a warm-up on the pitch.

“Then there was just a code red, and everyone was made to leave the stadium. It was still quite early, so the stadium would have only been about a quarter full, so it didn’t take long.

“The stewards kept telling everyone to move away from the ground and into the car park, which wasn’t the easiest thing to do with the crowd.

“People were trying to get internet on their phones, and it started to come through that there was a 45-minute delay. Then, about 25 to 30 minutes later, we were told the match was cancelled.

“Sean was really disappointed, and it was a long day. His communion was on Saturday, we didn’t get home until about 9.30 and then he was up at 4.30 in the morning to go to the airport.

“Our flight home was until 9pm that night and then Sean wanted to go into school the next morning though we told him he didn’t have to after travelling so much.

“He really had been looking forward to it for months. He wanted the last game of the season so he could see the players do a lap of honour and because it was straight after his communion. He’s just really disappointed that it happened.”

Sean had previously attended two United games, but will now have to wait until next season to return to Old Trafford.

Sean’s mother Oonagh added: “Sean really was disappointed and he didn’t really understand what had happened until he got to school on Monday, but he does have his itinerary and programme from the match.

“The tickets have been refunded, but there’s nothing we can do about the travel or anything else. He’ll definitely never forget his communion!”

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