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Off-duty Garda beaten unconscious at GAA match

The incident happened last Friday evening in Co Sligo.

shamrock Shamrock Gaels GAA Club, Coola Source: Google Maps

GARDAÍ ARE INVESTIGATING an assault on an off-duty Garda at a GAA match in Co Sligo which left the man unconscious.

The Detective Garda, aged in his 40s and a member of the Shamrock Gaels GAA club, was allegedly knocked to the ground while attempting to escort the referee from the pitch after a minor football match between Shamrock Gaels and Owenmore Gaels.

The match last Friday evening had resulted in a victory for Owenmore and saw them qualify for their first final in the grade, with fans understood to be aggrieved at the amount of injury time played at the end of the game at Shamrock Gaels home pitch in Coola.

When the referee was confronted by fans after the final whistle a number of people moved to escort him from the pitch, including the off-duty Garda.

It’s claimed that after being punched, the man was then repeatedly kicked in the head and lost consciousness for a time.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, secretary of the Sligo County Board Gerry O’Connor said that both the gardaí and the county board are investigating.

“We know very little at the moment, most of our information is third hand, but obviously we would hope the victim of the assault makes a full recovery,” O’Connor said.

You have to appreciate that these incidents are very rare both in the GAA and in general. It’s not publicity that we would like to see coming our way but it is very unfortunate that it did happen.

O’Connor said he believes “some altercation, a row or fracas” took place after the final whistle with “one thing leading to another”.

He said he believes the assault “was on the higher end of the scale, and was pretty vicious if proven true”.

O’Connor said that the Sligo Competitions Control Committee (CCC) will be examining the referee’s report before deciding what action to take.

“The more serious the incident the more it is incumbent upon the CCC to carry out a very thorough investigation,” he said. “First and foremost they’ll look at the referee’s report and then they’ll look for witnesses.”

A Garda spokesman confirmed that gardaí are investigating an incident “in which a man in his early 40s was assaulted at Coola, Sooey, Riverstown, Co Sligo on Friday 2 September at about 8.20pm”.

owenmore Source: Facebook

Owenmore Gaels, the victorious club, meanwhile released their own statement:

“Following the minor match in Coola on Friday night, 2 September, the club would like to emphasise it does not condone the scenes that followed,” it said.

We are carrying out our own investigation and are awaiting the findings of the CCC and referee’s report.

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