Thursday 22 March 2018

Player accused of breaking opponent's jaw in GAA match

Richard McCullen

A FOOTBALLER has been accused of breaking an opponent's jaw with a single unprovoked blow during a junior GAA league match.

Kenneth Darby (23), of Ardnamullan, Enfield, Co Meath, has pleaded not guilty at Trim Circuit Court to an assault causing harm to Brian Smith (28) at Clonard GAA grounds on August 28, 2011.

Mr Darby was playing for Clonard GFC while Mr Smith was playing for St Mary's Donore at the time.

Mr Smith told prosecuting counsel Carl Hanahoe that he had initially lined out at centre half back wearing the number six jersey – but after 25 minutes had been moved to left full back, where he was marking the other team's number 13, a player of medium build and red hair.

He said he was struck a blow to the side of his face within minutes of the switch.


"The ball was down the field and it looked like it was going to be kicked in his direction," said Mr Smith.

"He moved in the direction of the ball and I followed but the play broke down. I was looking down the field when I was struck on the side of the face.

"I was dazed with my hands on my knees and blood was coming out of my mouth. I was in a bit of a state of shock.

"My marker had moved on as the play was down the field and I jogged on to follow but the pain got worse and worse and I walked off the field."

He said his jaw had been pushed over and his teeth were not lining up.

The court heard the player was taken to the Swiftcare Clinic in Swords where he was X-rayed and then referred to hospital in Dublin, where he underwent surgery before being released after a few days.

Mr Smith told defence counsel Pat Purcell that there had been "no pulling, dragging or verbal altercation" between the two players before the incident and he could not have been struck by anyone else as there had been no other players near them at the time.

Witness Joe Reynolds told the court that he had been a water carrier for St Mary's and had seen the incident and there had been no other players in the vicinity at the time.

"Number 13 struck Brian Smith to the left side of the jaw. It was like a left hook or a punch," he said.

Marcus Morrison told the court that he had been the assistant manager of St Mary's on the day and recognised the player wearing number 13 as Mr Darby.

He added that he had complained to the referee at half time that one of his team's players had been assaulted.

Referee Michael Ryan said there had been no red or yellow cards issued in the game, which had been played in good spirits and that at half-time he had only been told that the number six on the St Mary's side had been injured.

The trial before Judge Michael O'Shea and a jury of 11 men and one woman continues today.

Irish Independent

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