Four involved in Daniel Sweeney referee attack banned from 'all football activity' for 40 years each
THREE Mullingar Town soccer players have been banned from all football activity for 40 years each in the aftermath of the assault on referee Daniel Sweeney.
A former Mullingar Town player who was a spectator at the game, and who was already subject to a lifetime playing ban, also now has a life ban from all football activity.
Announcing the bans this morning, the Combined Counties Football League said the "vicious, unprecedented level of violence" directed at the referee was "unprovoked, unwarranted and unjustifiable".
Sweeney was hospitalised and treated for head injuries after being assaulted at the end of a game between Horseleap United and Mullingar Town.
Gardai were called to the scene and their investigation into the incident is continuing.
Married father-of-two Daniel Sweeney was left with horrific injuries following the attack – including a jaw broken in two places, a fractured eye socket and numerous lacerations to his nose.
"I'm feeling sore to be honest. I'm feeling sore where I have my injuries. But look I'm getting on with it," he said, in a video message recorded after the incident.
"It certainly makes you question should I be refereeing when you feel you're not properly protected.
"So it makes you question whether refereeing is for you."
He also said he was brought up as a man of faith and holds no grudge towards those who attacked him.
"My main message is to say to the individuals involved, I bear no animosity whatsoever for what happened.
"Actually, I forgive you for what happened," he said.
"What would I like to see out of this at the end of the day?
"I would like to see the day that a referee can go onto a football field, feel safe and be safe."
Mr Sweeney also thanked people for their support.
"I just want to say thank you for all the kind messages of support. It's just been absolutely outstanding and overwhelming," he said. "I just want to say thank you to the hospitals that have given me great care and attention."