Soccer player awarded €47k over ‘cowardly’ match assault

A SOCCER player was awarded €47,000 in the High Court yesterday arising from an incident during a match which the judge described as an “unfair and cowardly” assault when the man’s jaw was fractured after he was punched by a player.

Wesley Purdy, 30, of Seasons Park, Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow, was successful in his proceedings against Brendan Doyle of St John’s Villas, Arklow, Co Wicklow.

Mr Doyle, who represented himself had consented to judgment at an earlier hearing before Mr Justice Vivian Lavan and the case was before the judge for assessment only.

Conor Bowman BL, for Mr Purdy, told the court the incident had occurred on February 1, 2008, when his client was playing for his club, Newtownpark Celtic, against Arklow Town Football Club in Arklow, for whom Mr Doyle played. The court was told the two players clashed in going to head the ball and the referee waved on play. As Mr Purdy was jogging back to his position, he was punched on the jaw by Mr Doyle and was unconscious for a short period.

The court heard Mr Doyle had punched him on the right side of his jaw from behind. Mr Purdy did not know what had hit him and was knocked out and fell to the ground.

Mr Purdy told the court that he was taken to St Columcille’s Hospital in Loughlinstown that Friday evening and kept there until Monday morning. He was subsequently taken to St James’s Hospital for an operation. An examination had confirmed a fracture of his mandible. He had played one game subsequently. He was out of work for about five weeks after the incident.

Mr Justice Lavan said this was the type of assault no court likes to receive evidence of. It was unfair and cowardly to come from behind in the manner described by Mr Purdy. He said Mr Purdy could only take liquids for six weeks after the operation.

The judge awarded Mr Purdy €2,750 for loss of income and €45,000 in respect of “pain and suffering” to date.


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