Sunday 25 March 2018

Referee knocked out after match

Deric Henderson

GAA administrators in Tyrone have ordered an inquiry after a referee and a senior county official were knocked unconscious when violence flared at the end of a women's football final.

Simon Brady, 43, was attacked by a spectator as he checked his score card after St Macartan's of Augher defeated Carrickmore by scoring a winning point in the final stages of the match in Beragh.

Tyrone ladies football chairman Martin Conway was also stretchered off the pitch after he was hit when he tried to intervene on Friday night.

Father-of-two Mr Brady was treated at the Erne Hospital, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh for bruising and swelling to his face. He was struck once by a spectator after awarding St Macartan's a free kick just seconds from the end of the game.

Just after blowing the final whistle he was punched.

He said: "I was checking my score card to make sure everything was in order. I got a tap on the shoulder from one of the managers wanting to shake my hand and that is the last thing I remember."

Mr Brady told the Irish News: "Apparently I was hit. My understanding is that it was a spectator. I woke up maybe five minutes later. I was frightened. I didn't know what had happened. All I knew was I was lying on the ground and it was wet and cold.

"I wasn't even aware Martin Conway had been hit by another individual when he came to help me."

He added: "It is absolutely shameful that this sort of thing has happened. I give up my time freely to officiate at these games. I am a volunteer in what is a pretty tough job and one that can feel very lonely at times. There's a lot of shock. I believe it is the most serious incident that has ever happened, at least in Tyrone football."

The Tyrone Ladies Gaelic Football Association confirmed that an investigation is under way. A statement said: "The county board roundly condemn the perpetrators of the assaults."

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