Ex-Dubs star denies breaking garda's jaw in match
A FORMER inter-county Dublin footballer has gone on trial accused of breaking an off-duty garda's jaw during a league match nearly two years ago.
Brendan McMenamin (30), of Cypress Downs, Templeogue, Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to assault causing harm to Garda Enda Ledwith at Na Fianna GAA Club, St Mobhi Road, Glasnevin on March 31, 2012.
The trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that the incident took place during the last 10 minutes of a Division 1 league match between St Judes and Na Fianna.
Diarmuid Collins, prosecuting, told the jury that Mr McMenamin later claimed Gda Ledwith had hit him in the testicles before the incident.
Gda Ledwith, a former Longford player, refuted that allegation. "I wouldn't stoop so low. I've never, ever done that," he said.
Giving evidence to the court, Gda Ledwith said his jaw was fractured in two places during the incident and he had to have surgery and get metal plates inserted.
He said he did not file a complaint until he was approached by gardai and told that Mr McMenamin had made allegations of an assault.
Gda Ledwith said he had been playing in the right corner back position and was marking the accused, who he knew from previous matches, for the whole game. He said the game had been very innocuous and had passed off without incident "with no real slagging or cursing" until 10 minutes from the end when both players collided.
Gda Ledwith said the ball was in the other end of the field and that their paths had simply crossed.
He said Mr McMenamin punched him in the chest and he pushed him back as hard as he could and told him to "F*** off". Gda Ledwith said that up to that point it was "handbags more than anything else".
But he said Mr McMenamin then "seemed to snap" and started throwing punches at him, making contact with his face at least twice.
"His demeanour changed, to become more pumped up or aggressive," said Gda Ledwith.
He said blood started to pour from his mouth and he went down on his hunkers and put his hand up to his mouth and felt that his teeth had caved in.
Gda Ledwith said Mr McMenamin was roaring at him, and that the accused was then given a straight red card and sent off.
The alleged victim said another member of the St Judes team then pulled him up and said: "Get up, get up, it's only a league match."
The team physio gave Gda Ledwith an icepack and he told her: "My f***ing jaw is broken," and got into an ambulance.
Gda Ledwith said the accused put his head into the ambulance and apologised, saying something like: "Look, I'm sorry for what happened, these things happen on the pitch and stay on the pitch."
Gda Ledwith said he just pulled his jacket over his head as he was in shock and didn't want to interact.
He spent three days in St James's Hospital and later underwent surgery to get three plates in his jaw and one tooth extracted to facilitate screws.
Gda Ledwith said he still had numbness on the left side of his jaw and that his jaw locks up in times of stress.
The jury were shown footage of the match taken by both Na Fianna and St Judes.
Among the witnesses to be called during the trial are the former Dublin County Manager Paul Caffrey, and former member of Dublin County Board, John McNichols.
The jury heard that Mr McMenamin works as a sales representative for Pallas food company, which distributes food to the catering trade.
The case is expected to last until early next week.