Sunday 19 November 2017

GAA star's arm is broken in London nightclub row

Conor Kane

AN inter-county football star had his arm broken and another was arrested during a nightclub incident in London at the weekend after a national league match.

Police in London are now investigating the trouble which started while two members of Carlow's senior football team were celebrating their Saturday afternoon win over London with a trip to a nightclub in the Acton area of the city.

One of the players involved, Willie Minchin (27), from the Old Leighlin club, suffered a broken arm after being allegedly assaulted by a staff member at the club on Acton's High Street in the early hours of Sunday morning.

When the police were called another player, Eric McCormack, of Eire Og, was arrested after he reportedly remonstrated with the police over the injury to his team-mate.

Penalty

He was kept for some time at the police station in Acton, close to where the players and officials were staying in Chiswick. He was later released with a "fixed penalty notice", according to police, and without any charges being brought.

However, Mr Minchin had to be brought to hospital for treatment to his arm, which was broken in two places during an alleged assault. He travelled to St James's Hospital in Dublin for a consultation yesterday and it's understood he could miss at least some of this year's championship as a result of his injury.

The Carlow team enjoyed a three-point win over London at the Ruislip venue on Saturday in Division Four of the National Football League and were staying in Moran's Hotel in Chiswick.

Mr Minchin and Mr McCormack were in a group that went out to socialise around Chiswick before heading to the Redback nightclub in Acton. A Carlow football insider said that everyone associated with the panel was "very upset" about what happened.

It's understood that team manager Luke Dempsey was part of a delegation of players and officials who visited the police station on Sunday morning to accompany Mr Minchin while he made a complaint about being assaulted.

Detectives are investigating the allegation, a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police confirmed last night. "There have been no arrests and inquiries continue," he added.

"Willie Minchin is one of the quieter members of the panel, he was very upset about it all," said a senior Carlow GAA figure last night. "He's only in his mid-20s and is already publicity shy."

He said that there may have been some "high jinks" on the part of the players at the nightclub but it was only in line with their celebrations after their win and that they were "perfectly well-behaved" otherwise.

"No matter how much fun lads are having in a nightclub, they don't deserve to have an arm broken," he added.

A statement from the Carlow County Board confirmed last night that "an incident occurred" during the trip.

"Following a sanctioned night out a player was injured," the board said. "After remonstrations by team colleagues on behalf of the player, another player was questioned.

"The matter was reported to the local police station by the Carlow team management and an investigation has been initiated. No Carlow players or officials are subject to that investigation," they added.

Irish Independent

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