Saturday 23 September 2017

Youth hurling coach broke opponent's jaw

Derek Sweetman: outside court
Derek Sweetman: outside court

Conor Gallagher

A YOUTH hurling coach has been given a suspended sentence for kicking his opponent in the face and breaking his jaw after a match.

The court heard there was a senior hurling match between Crumlin GAA Club and Naomh Fionnbarra which had "some flashpoints" but nothing serious.

After the final whistle a row broke out between several of the players, and Derek Sweetman (31) ran across the pitch and kicked Andrew Comerford in the jaw.

The victim narrowly avoided needing surgery but had his jaw wired and couldn't eat solid food for six weeks.

He lost a significant amount of weight as a result. Sweetman of Dingle Road, Cabra West, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm at Pearse Park, Crumlin, on July 6, 2010.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring noted Sweetman was also a youth hurling coach and wondered if he trained children to kick their opponents in the face.

"I doubt it allows that in any of the GAA rules," she said before commenting that coaches and senior players have an obligation to set a good example. The judge said parents allow their children to engage in sport for their own benefit and don't expect them to come home with a wired jaw having been deliberately kicked by a fellow player.

Judge Ring noted Sweetman had "not been very sporting" and said she couldn't overlook the gratuitous nature of the assault.

She suspended the sentence of two and half years on strict conditions.

Sweetman told his victim, who was also in court, that he regrets his actions: "All it takes is one ridiculous thing to cause so much harm.

"All I can do is apologise and even that isn't enough."

The court earlier heard how a brawl broke out at the final whistle and Mr Comerford fell on the ground while assisting a teammate.

Sweetman then ran across the field and kicked his opponent in the face, knocking him unconscious.

Seamus Clark, defending, said his client had €6,000 in court as a token of his remorse.

Irish Independent

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