GAA fan on trial accused of assaulting goalkeeper

A GAA spectator was yesterday returned for trial concerning an alleged on-pitch assault that resulted in a footballer losing three teeth and being rendered unconscious.

At Ennis District Court, Eamon Leahy, aged 51, of 48 Cronan Park, Shannon, appeared in connection with the alleged assault causing harm on 29-year-old Killimer goalkeeper Richard Carmody last May.

Judge Patrick Durcan had previously declined jurisdiction and transferred the case to the circuit court after hearing an outline of the facts by the State.

This required the drawing up of the book of evidence that was served yesterday.

Mr Leahy now faces significantly higher penalties if convicted of the offence in the circuit court.

In the circuit court, those convicted of Section 3 assault can be imprisoned for five years compared to a maximum penalty of 12 months in the district court.

Inspector Tom Kennedy said it is alleged Mr Leahy ran onto the pitch towards the end of a Junior B football match to kick Mr Carmody in the face.

Insp Kennedy said that Mr Carmody was on the ground at the time, as he had been part of a melee on the pitch, when he was allegedly kicked by Mr Leahy.

Insp Kennedy said Mr Carmody lost the teeth and was rendered unconscious from the kick.

“Mr Carmody was dizzy and when he tried to get back on his feet, he collapsed and had to be taken to hospital,” he said.

Providing a background to the incident, Insp Kennedy said Mr Leahy’s 16-year-old son Daragh was playing corner-forward for Wolfe Tones in the match when he became involved in a dispute with another player.

The alleged assault took place during a Division 6 Junior B match between Shannon club Wolfe Tones and west Clare team Killimer at the Wolfe Tones camogie grounds on Sunday, May 12, last year.

Daragh Hassett, for Mr Leahy, previously told the court Mr Leahy would be pleading guilty to the assault, but only on the basis there was only one strike. He said: “He accepts that there was one blow.”

Insp Kennedy said this was acceptable to the State. “We are treating it as one kick to the head and face.”

Mr Leahy has already made a voluntary statement to gardaí on the matter.

Yesterday, Judge William Early told Mr Leahy that if an alibi formed any part of his defence, he should inform the prosecution within 14 days.

Judge Early returned Mr Leahy for trial on bail to the next sitting of Ennis Circuit Court on Tuesday, February 18.

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