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Soccer player denies breaking rival's nose

A FOOTBALLER has been accused of breaking an opponent's nose with a punch during a mid-match brawl at UCD.

Hugh Byrne (21) allegedly attacked and injured the other player during a fight that developed over "dirty tackling" during a soccer league game.

The alleged victim, Charlie Campbell, had exchanged blows with a member of Byrne's team when the accused intervened and delivered a punch that left him with a broken nose, a court heard.

Byrne is denying an assault charge, arguing that he was defending his teammate from an attack by three people, including Mr Campbell.

Byrne, with an address at Knocknashee, Goatstown, is pleading not guilty to assault causing harm to Mr Campbell at UCD, Belfield, on November 6, 2010.

The court heard the opposing teams were playing in the UCD soccer Superleague on the day. Mr Byrne's team was called 'Haven't A Kalou' and Mr Campbell's was 'Toke City'.



Mr Campbell said in evidence a fight broke out on the pitch during the second half after a bad tackle.

He said his team-mate Simon Balfe reacted by throwing the ball at the player, the two began pushing and swearing at each other and another player with "Totes McGroats" on his jersey then got involved.

Mr Campbell ran over and there was a scuffle between him and this man – Mark McGroarty. He alleged Mr McGroarty threw the first punch, grazing the side of his face. He struck back with a similar punch, barely hitting him.

He said team members from both sides got involved and a "reasonably big fight broke out".

The next thing he remembered was getting a "blind side punch" from someone he didn't see. The fight stopped as people noticed the severity of the punch.

The case is due to continue today at the Dublin District Court before Judge Catherine Murphy.