Thursday 23 November 2017

Man who allegedly attacked a referee during a Dublin schoolboy game receives lifetime ban

Ger Keville, Adam Cullen and John Fallon

A Dublin schoolboy football club has issued a lifetime ban following an incident which left a referee injured at the weekend.

Whistler Roy Kavanagh (22) – who officiates every weekend in the biggest league in the country – posted graphic pictures of the injuries he suffered on social media.

The injuries sustained by referee Roy Kavanagh
Bruises suffered by referee Roy Kavanagh

According to the victim, he was kicked repeatedly in the stomach whilst going about his business taking charge of an Under-15 fixture in the south-west region of Dublin.

"I can't believe he attacked me for no reason at a schoolboy U-15 match that a bunch of 14-year-olds were playing in," he said.

"I never once hit or tried to hit back and still he kept kicking me."

St Paul’s Artane, who were involved in the U-15 match against Sacred Heart in Tallaght, last night issued the following statement confirming they have banned the alleged attacker for life.

“The executive committee of St Pauls Artane F.C has decided to issue (him) with a lifetime ban from all activities at St Pauls Artane fc with immediate effect.

“This ban results from his involvement in an unsavoury and unacceptable incident with referee Roy Kavanagh at a DDSL Under 15 game between Sacred Heart and St Pauls Artane F.C on Saturday the 24/10/15.

“His misdemeanours are unacceptable to St Pauls Artane F.C and go against all the beliefs and values of St Pauls Artane F.C.

“We, as a club, strongly and sincerely condemn his actions and we unreservedly apologise to referee Roy Kavanagh.

“We also apologise to the DDSL executive committee, management committee and the DDSL clubs.

“St Paul’s Artane FC will without hesitation co-operate fully with all investigations into this game and incident.”

An ISRS spokesperson said they condemned the attack and stressed that it was one of the worst instances of abuse ever suffered by one of their members.

"Abuse is not uncommon for our members, but the severity of this abuse thankfully is.

"Once or twice a year, we hear of extreme physical assaults but this is one of the worst we have come across," the spokesman said.

He added that the group could not comment further until investigations by the DDSL, the FAI and An Garda Síochána had been completed.

A garda spokesperson said they were investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.

The FAI also said that they were fully investigating the alleged events.

DDSL chairperson Paddy Dempsey told the Irish Independent that a hearing was due to take place on Thursday.

"We fully condemn any kind of assault on any person, let alone a referee officiating over a game, he said.

"The alleged assault will be taken very seriously, and investigations surrounding it will begin on Thursday," he added.

The alleged attacker is thought to be on the management team of one of the clubs involved in the game.

Despite his ordeal, Mr Kavanagh refused to allow it to disrupt his schedule of refereeing more under-age games on Sunday.

Mr Kavanagh has received an array of supportive messages from his referee colleagues, echoing his wish that justice be served in a fair and timely manner.

He admitted this type of incident, not uncommon over the years at amateur level in Ireland, dissuades prospective members from taking up the thankless task.

"All I do is referee because I have passion for the game and this is my only way of being involved in it," said the victim in a passionate address.

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