Sunday 20 October 2019

Man who sued over injury he suffered on GAA AstroTurf pitch withdraws his claim

Sean Doyle, of Dunehaven, Courtown, Co Wexford pictured leaving the Four Courts during the lunchbreak of his High Court action for damages Pic: Collins Courts
Sean Doyle, of Dunehaven, Courtown, Co Wexford pictured leaving the Four Courts during the lunchbreak of his High Court action for damages Pic: Collins Courts

Tim Healy

A man who sued, after he claimed he injured his knee while playing a friendly soccer game on an AstroTurf pitch, has withdrawn his case.

Sean Doyle (37) had claimed he fell over and passed out after he hit an alleged hump or divet on the AstroTurf as he went for a ball during an eight-a-side game.

He had sued Wicklow County GAA Ltd and Arklow Geraldines Ballymoney GAA  as a result of the accident on February 23, 2010.

He claimed in the High Court he has been left with ongoing problems to one of his knees.

Mr Doyle, who lives in Courtown, Co Wexford was one of a group of players who rented out the GAA AstroTurf pitch at Vale Road, Pearse Park, Arklow, Co Wicklow for a weekly friendly soccer match.

He had claimed the pitch was allegedly allowed to become or to remain unsafe and there was an alleged failure to properly maintain it.

The claims were denied.

The GAA parties contended the pitch was maintained.  Two workers daily picked litter from it and it was brushed with a special machine once a week, it was argued.

Annual maintenance had taken place ten months before the February 2010 accident. It was further contended there had been no complaints about the condition of the pitch and that Mr Doyle's injury was not caused by the surface.

After the case resumed on Friday afternoon, David Conlan Smyth SC, for Mr Doyle, told Mr Justice Kevin Cross his client was withdrawing the case.  Counsel said there was to be no order as to costs which means both sides pay their own legal costs.

The judge said it was a case that was extremely difficult for Mr Doyle, who he described an honest and decent individual who suffered a significant injury.

In evidence, Mr Doyle said he was wearing proper astro boots at the time of the accident on February 23, 2010.

He said the goalkeeper threw out the ball  and when he went for it his foot hit a divet and he saw his foot "sticking out the other way". He said he passed out and remembered waking up in hospital .

He said for the first few months he could only walk with a limp and some days he would cry he was in so much pain.

Cross examined by Michael O Scanaill SC, for the defendants, instructed by solicitor Donnough Shaffrey, Mr Doyle agreed he had used the pitch before and every other time there was nothing wrong with the surface.

Counsel said in the action Mr Doyle had claimed he slipped  but now he was saying it wasn't that but that he "met Kilimanjaro".

Counsel asked if Mr Doyle knew what happened at all. Mr Doyle said he had blacked out  and it was very hard to remember and the incident was a few years ago.

Counsel suggested  Mr Doyle changed direction and as he went for the ball and that is what caused his injury. Mr Doyle replied:" No, it was the ball bouncing erratically. I tried to trap the ball."

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