Footballer who broke opponent’s leg with ‘kung fu-style tackle’ avoids jail

Andrew Duffy: Made a payment to the victim.

A footballer who broke an opponent’s leg with a ‘kung fu’-style tackle during a junior soccer match in Co Meath two years ago was spared jail yesterday.

Andrew Duffy, aged 30, of Lanyon Manor, Eglantine Place, Belfast, was convicted in November by a jury of assault causing harm to Mark Bannon, aged 24, Moneymore, Drogheda, Co Louth, at Marshallstown Kilmessan Co Meath, on October 8, 2011.

Duffy was playing for Kilmesan and Mr Bannon was playing for Boyne Valley in a Meath and District League reserve match when Mr Bannon’s leg was broken following a tackle by Duffy.

The case was adjourned until yesterday for sentence.

In a victim impact statement read to the hearing, Mr Bannon said the injury had cost him €6,000 to date as he had been unable to take a place on a Fás course and had paid out €1,000 on physiotherapy.

He also felt cheated as he had been unable to follow his ambition of joining the army which was a family tradition.

He added he had a metal rod in his leg and could not walk long distances.

The court heard that Duffy had paid a substantial sum of unconditional compensation to the injured player which Mr Bannon had described to a garda as “life-changing money,” which he intended to use for educational courses to further his career chances.

Judge Michael O’Shea noted the payment to Mr Bannon but remarked the tackle by Duffy had been described by witnesses as a Kung Fu challenge and said had neither been mistimed nor misjudged. Judge O’Shea imposed a sentence of three years, which he suspended on Duffy entering a €200 bond to keep the peace for three years.


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