Gardai probe assault claim in teen rugby match melee
Published 26/01/2010 | 05:00
THREE investigations -- including a garda probe -- are under way following the alleged assaults of two teenage rugby players during an underage match at the weekend.
It is believed that a 15-year-old player from Shannon rugby club in Limerick city was kicked in the head while he lay on the ground during a game at Bruff rugby club on Sunday.
His father ran on to the field to protect his son, but denies assaulting anyone in the immediate aftermath of his son's attack. It is understood that a 14-year-old player was also headbutted during the melee that followed the initial assault.
Officers at Bruff garda station confirmed they received a complaint of the assault at the rugby ground in Kilballyowen during the North Munster U15 league match between Shannon and Bruff.
With 10 minutes to go in the game, it was claimed that the schoolboy was assaulted and kicked while he lay on the ground. It is understood that a number of Bruff players were around him at the time.
Seconds after he was assaulted, several people ran on to the pitch from behind the spectator railings, including the victim's father and a melee ensued.
Neither club wished to comment on the reports that a 14-year-old Bruff player was headbutted during the fracas.
The referee immediately abandoned the game following the incident.
Gardai are expected to speak to officials from both teams and match spectators before deciding what course their investigation will take.
Bruff rugby football club said it will not be making any comment until the circumstances are fully investigated. Public Relations Officer (PRO) with Bruff, Richard Leonard said that after the match players were instructed to get medical treatment, but nobody had to be hospitalised.
Mr Leonard said Bruff RFC adheres to "strict procedures regarding the welfare of children", including "contacting various agencies and bodies who have to be contacted, including the IRFU". He said all these procedures were followed on Sunday. A special meeting of Bruff RFC's executive committee took place last night.
PRO with Shannon rugby football club, Andrew McNamara said they were waiting to see the referee's report and were also investigating the matter.
"Basically, what we know is that a 15-year-old Shannon player was kicked on the ground and was subsequently surrounded by a number of Bruff players.
"His father was in close proximity to the incident and entered the field to protect his son," Mr McNamara said.
"Subsequently, we are led to believe that several other people who were not associated with Shannon encroached onto the pitch from outside of the playing barrier and the referee called off the match.
"The father categorically denied assaulting anyone," added Mr McNamara.
"The referee's report will have a huge bearing on this," the Shannon official added.
Munster branch officials have requested reports from both clubs into the incident and have launched an investigation.
The garda investigation continues.