WATCH: Ireland fans' tennis ball protest before Conor Hourihane goal

26 March 2019, 20:35 | Updated: 26 March 2019, 22:55

Some Republic of Ireland fans disrupted their side’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Georgia by throwing tennis balls on to the pitch – before watching Conor Hourihane’s free-kick give the home side the lead.

Reports in the days leading up to the fixture in Dublin suggested that disgruntled supporters would stage the incident in protest of the FAI's decision to create a new role for John Delaney after he stepped down as chief executive.

Mick McCarthy had asked Republic of Ireland fans to "demonstrate somewhere else" before the game but that plea fell on deaf ears as tennis balls were thrown on to the pitch shortly after the half hour mark.

However, after a short delay, Hourihane curled in a brilliant free-kick to give his side the lead, prompting John O'Shea on Sky Sports commentary to say "the tennis balls might become a permanent fixture".

It didn't affect us. When things like that happen you have to concentrate and make sure you concentrate. I was conscious that we didn't take the free-kick too quickly and get hit on the break but it had the adverse effect on them as we scored when the tennis balls came on. It didn't matter what was going on, nothing was stopping that free-kick.

McCarthy reaction....

"It didn't affect us. When things like that happen you have to concentrate and make sure you concentrate. I was conscious that we didn't take the free-kick too quickly and get hit on the break but it had the adverse effect on them as we scored when the tennis balls came on. It didn't matter what was going on, nothing was stopping that free-kick."

Click on the video at the top of the page to watch the protest and Hourihane's free-kick.