Garda 'kicked in face and called pig in GAA match row'
A former inter-county footballer was ferociously assaulted during a GAA club match because he is a garda, a court has heard.
Garda James Masters told the High Court that in August 2010, he had been playing with Nemo Rangers during a Cork county football championship match when he was assaulted by a member of the opposite team, Valley Rovers.
Garda Masters, who is based in Bandon, Co Cork, said the match had been uneventful until a scuffle developed towards the final whistle. He had not wanted to get involved and had started to walk back to his full-forward position when he heard a noise from behind.
Bruce Antoniotti SC, counsel for Garda Masters, said his client had been turning to see what was happening when he suddenly received a ferocious punch in his face.
He had been trying to get up when his assailant kicked him in the jaw while he was still lying on the ground.
Garda Masters, who played with the Cork senior inter-county team from 2005 until 2010, said that when he fell he saw that his assailant was wearing the Valley Rovers No 2 jersey.
The court heard that the No 2, Noel O'Donovan, had called the garda "a pig" several times during the match.
"I took it as being a slang word for a garda," Garda Masters said during a Garda Compensation hearing.
Mr Antoniotti, who appeared with barrister Kieran Binchy, said Garda Masters had blood pouring down his face after the assault and while he was being removed off the pitch by medical staff, O'Donovan smiled at him and made a handcuff gesture.
Mr Justice Bernard Barton heard that Garda Masters was taken to University Hospital, Cork, where a laceration to the left-side of his face was stitched.
Garda Masters said his wound had left a visible permanent scar on his face. Garda Masters is suing the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. Colm Smyth SC, counsel for the minister, said the State was contesting Garda Masters's claim for compensation on the basis that his injuries happened during a GAA match. Judge Barton adjourned the case to allow parties to bring motions for discovery of documents.