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Soccer referee who suffered broken jaw receives €5,000 compensation from attacker

Daniel Sweeney also suffered a fractured eye socket during the attack after a match in 2018.

A SOCCER REFEREE who suffered a broken jaw and fractured eye socket following a violent assault at the end of a match two years ago has been paid €5,000 compensation by his attacker.

Tullamore Circuit Criminal Court heard today that Dean Dinnegan (22) of Dalton Park, Mullingar, Co Westmeath had brought the money to court for his victim.

Dinnegan had pleaded guilty to a charge of assault causing harm in an attack on referee, Daniel Sweeney, at a match at the grounds of Horseleap United, Co Offaly on 11 November 2018.

He also pleaded guilty to producing a golf club during the course of the incident.

Sentencing in the case was adjourned by Judge Karen Fergus after hearing a probation report on Dinnegan had not been prepared in time for the sitting because of the Covid-19 restrictions.

Defence counsel, Niall Flynn, BL said he believed his client, who is a member of the Traveller community, would benefit from a probation report as it would outline the background to the incident of how he and some other Mullingar Town players were subject to “racist remarks” by players from Horseleap United.

Flynn said the use of such language had also been referenced in the match report by Sweeney.

He acknowledged that the referee had suffered substantial injuries in what was “a nasty incident” involving up to a dozen players that had got “out of control.”

Flynn said Dinnegan had held his hands up about his role in the attack and pleaded guilty at an early stage.

He claimed a probation report would also be welcome as Dinnegan’s liberty was at risk as he was guilty of a very serious assault at the upper end of the scale.

A letter of apology to Sweeney by Dinnegan was also handed into court.

Prosecuting counsel, Shane Geraghty, BL said Sweeney, who had required serious medical attention, had made no racist remarks and “did not deserve a broken jaw”.

He pointed out that the referee was attempting to ease the situation when he suffered his injuries.

The court heard that the defendant’s father, Seán Dinnegan, is due to go on trial in November on charges related to the same incident.

He is charged with assaulting causing harm to the referee and a 12-year boy as well as assault on two other individuals.

Dinnegan was remanded on continuing bail until a future hearing of the case in November.