A Limerick hurling fan who was arrested after walking on to the Citi Field pitch in New York with his young son to meet his child’s GAA heroes has told the trauma of being separated from his son by stewards.
Seamie O’Mahony – who had a trepassing charge against him dismissed in a New York Court this week - hopped over the barrier in the home pitch of the New York Mets on Saturday, November 16th, to meet the Limerick team with his seven-year-old son.
When the supporter told Limerick midfielder William O’Donoghue that his hurling-mad child had travelled from Tournafulla to New York to watch the match, he said the player graciously gave the child his helmet
But the boy’s delight quickly turned to distress when stewards escorted his father off the pitch before separating him from his crying child who was handed to his aunt in the stands.
Mr O’Mahony was arrested and later brought downtown to the NYPD’s 110th Precinct in Queens where he was charged with criminal trespassing and ordered to return to court in the America city this week.
“That vision of being pulled away from your seven-year-old boy who is crying in hysterics will never leave my head,” he said.
The pair, who had travelled over to New York on a trip of a lifetime, were among thousands of fans who showed up to watch four top hurling teams take part in the 2019 New York Hurling Classic, at Citi Field, in New York, two weeks ago.
“It was his first time on a plane”, said his Dad.
At the end of the match between Kilkenny and Limerick, a number of kids jumped over the barrier and Seamie and his son followed suit.
“I did not know it was against the law. William O’Donoghue (Limerick player) was the first one we met and I told him we were after coming all the way from Tournafulla to support them and he said, ‘in that case, here you are you can have my helmet’.
“They just caught me and pulled me away. He had his hands out screaming hysterically calling me.
“I explained to him that he was in a big city all on his own thousands of miles from home.
“My sister is his aunt but he had only met her the day before as she lives in America and briefly one other time two years ago.”
He said he was arrested in Citi Field and handcuffed and had his phone, wallet and shoes taken away.
He said the NYPD officers, who were very kind to him during the ordeal, released him that night at around 10.30 with a summons to appear in the Criminal Court of the City of New York in Queens on Tuesday this week on a charge of criminal trespass.
“The whole thing was just disgraceful.”
“I would put my hands up and say I was wrong to go on the field but my whole issue is the way they dealt with it."