Garda investigated over alleged assault at match
Published 23/10/2010 | 05:00
A YOUNG member of An Garda Siochana is under investigation for the alleged assault of a photographer after his team lost a GAA match.
James Young (30) -- who joined the force three-and-a-half years ago -- has been handed a 96-week suspension from the game for an incident off the pitch after a Laois intermediate hurling championship semi-final.
Garda Young, who works in Co Kildare, is now the subject of a disciplinary investigation by the Garda Ombudsman.
His father, Eugene, received a ban for life for allegedly shouting abuse during ugly scenes at the same match between Clonaslee-St Manman's and Ballyfin on September 25. Gda Young is being accused of striking a photographer with a hurley, while his father allegedly verbally abused the same man.
Clonaslee-St Manman's players and mentors were angered by the amount of injury time played in the match, which was won by Ballyfin. They also disputed whether the winning shot from Dermot McGill had actually crossed the line.
Gda Young, who plays for the Clonaslee team, is now at the centre of a disciplinary probe. It is alleged that the player assaulted sports photographer Alf Harvey with a hurley.
He did not swing the hurley, however. Mr Harvey claims that the garda gave him "a dig" while he was taking photographs of a post-match melee.
The garda's father -- Eugene Young -- has been expelled from the organisation for life for verbal abuse off the pitch. He had already been suspended.
Mr Harvey, who has been covering matches since 1983, and GAA officials were among those set upon.
Laois GAA officials initiated a probe into the incident. They did not expel Clonaslee but the Laois Competitions Control Committee (CCC) handed out a raft of other punishments.
It suspended a number of players and fans. It fined the club €2,000 and banned it from playing matches at home for five years.
The Central Appeals Committee (CAC) of Laois GAA met last week to give hearings to eight of those originally suspended by the CCC.
Players Conor McEvoy and John Conroy accepted their suspensions of 24 weeks while hurler carrier Ned McEvoy also accepted his ban of 48 weeks.
However, hearings were sought in relation to all of the 96-week suspensions. Tommy Tynan junior (player), Ross Tynan (supporter), Glen McEvoy (player) and Ned McEvoy (selector) were all unsuccessful with their hearings in relation to their 96-week bans.
Conor Gorman (player) and Paul Mulhall (selector) were suspended for 48 weeks and they too failed to have their bans lifted.
Gda Young was among those who appealed the suspension but his was upheld. His father did not appeal his ban.
Last night, Alf Harvey told the Irish Independent that he was assaulted while he was taking pictures of a fracas that erupted after the game.
"I was just doing my job, I had a long lens and was not too close to what was happening," he said.
Mr Harvey said he later asked the club's chairman to seek an apology from Gda Young.
"The chairman invited me down the tunnel and James Young came out bare-chested and abused me.
Mr Harvey said a child who saw the incident ran out of the tunnel and alerted an official that the photographer was being "beaten up".
"I got no apology," he fumed. "I called the gardai and I gave the GAA a statement.
Mr Harvey was very shaken by the incident and has barely worked since.
He added: "I broke down after this, my whole body was shaking and I was crying."
Chairman of Laois GAA Brian Allen confirmed that Gda Young had been given a 96-week ban.
He said: "We wouldn't condone this type of behaviour. There is no place in games for that type of behaviour. Most of the games played in Laois are very sporting,"
The chairman of Clonaslee-St Manman's, Sean Conroy, was contacted last night for a comment. He said: "I have no comment to make and I don't want to talk to you. Goodbye."
Club secretary Pat Carroll said it was the official position of the club not to comment.