Saturday, 3 Dec 2022

'I hope they get jail' – shock as soccer referee hospitalised in alleged attack after match

A referee was hospitalised yesterday after an alleged assault following an adult soccer match.

Daniel Sweeney was treated for facial injuries following the alleged attack by three Mullingar Town players in a car park after their away match with Horseleap yesterday in Co Offaly.

It is understood a spectator was allegedly involved in the attack, which left Mr Sweeney with serious injuries to his jaw, cheekbone and nose.

The chairman of the Combined Counties Football League, Seán Montgomery, said those involved would receive lifetime bans and the club would be issued a significant fine.

He said: “There will be no stone unturned in terms of how we deal with this. It is completely and utterly unacceptable.”

Paul Malone, secretary of the referees’ Midlands Branch, told the Irish Independent that “referees are an easy target”.

He called for criminal sanctions against the offenders.

Mr Malone said the league must be strong on punishment and also called for lifetime bans to be issued to anyone involved.

“It’s an absolute disgrace,” he said. “It needs to be clamped down on and it’s getting worse.

“Anyone who did this damage to Daniel, I hope they get jail,” he added.

A garda spokesman said an investigation is under way and that officers were called to the incident at around 1pm yesterday.

“Gardaí from Tullamore were called to the scene of a public order incident at a football club in Horseleap, Co Offaly.

“No arrests have been made to date and enquiries are ongoing.”

A Mullingar Town spokesman declined to comment due to the ongoing Garda investigation.

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