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Footballer (27) who broke opponent's nose with 'off the ball' headbutt avoids jail term

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Ian Stapleton scored twice to claim a draw for Cobh Wanderers

Ian Stapleton scored twice to claim a draw for Cobh Wanderers

Ian Stapleton scored twice to claim a draw for Cobh Wanderers

A soccer player who broke an opponent’s nose after he headbutted him in an off the ball incident has avoided a jail term.

Padraig Seery (27) a player with Walkinstown side, Castle Celtic, was marking Leixlip Town’s captain, Mark Coyne, in a United Churches Football League game when the ball was at the other end of the pitch.

Garda Paul Carney told Lorcan Staines BL, prosecuting that Seery, for “no reason”, then kicked Mr Coyne in the ankle before he headbutted him in the face, knocking him to the ground.

The referee saw the incident and immediately handed Seery a red card. Mr Coyne was bleeding so heavily that three jerseys were needed to soak up the blood.

Three players from Leixlip Town later told gardaí that they saw Mr Coyne with his hands by his side at the time of the head-butt and they described the assault as “totally unprovoked”.

Seery of Whitebrook Park, Tallaght pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting Mr Coyne causing him harm at Barnhall, Leixlip, on February 18, 2012. He has no previous convictions.

Judge Martin Nolan suspended an 18 month jail sentence and ordered Seery to pay €5,000 over to the victim. Seery had offered the money as a token of his remorse along with an apology.

Gda Carney said that the victim is willing to accept both.

Seery met gardaí by arrangement on May 16, 2012, and gave a “confused statement” apologising for his behaviour but also claiming he didn’t attack Mr Coyne.

He made a further statement the following month during which he admitted the assault. He said he had felt wound up, was frustrated, angry and that he lost control.

Seery said he had spoken with an anger management counsellor in the meantime and sought the advice of a solicitor.

He accepted his behaviour was dangerous and claimed that he had tried to contact Mr Coyne to apologise.

A medical report before the court stated that Mr Coyne had a broken nose which needed surgery but Mr Staines said that due to his “footballing pursuits” he had been advised to delay the procedure.

He has since quit football but doesn’t have €5,000 to pay for the operation.

Garret Baker BL, defending, said his client apologised for the injury and accepted he lost control.

Online Editors