A 29-year-old woman, who told a court on Friday that she most likely would have played senior football for Dublin had it not been for a rear-ending traffic accident, has been awarded almost €30,000 damages in the Circuit Civil Court.
Judge Eoin Garavan said he was awarding Anita Haughey €23,000 for pain and injury as well as €5,000 for loss of sporting opportunity. He also awarded her €1,066 special damages.
Ms Haughey, of Foxhill Avenue, Baldoyle, Dublin 13, told her counsel John P. Kehoe she had been given a trial for the Dublin team just before the accident in February 2015.
She said she was confident that but for injuries to her neck, shoulders and lower back she would have made the Dublin panel and the All-Ireland final in which they had beaten Mayo this year.
Mr Kehoe, who appeared with C.M. Haughey solicitors, told the court that although it had initially been claimed by defendants Andrej Banas and Iveta Banasova that the accident had never taken place, liability was now conceded and the case had become a matter of damages assessment.
Anita Haughey told the court she had just dropped one of her two children to school when she was struck from behind by Mr Banas’s car, driven at the time by Iveta Banasova. “I got out of my car and was almost knocked down as the other driver sped off,” she said. “Luckily it had been caught on cctv.”
Ms Haughey told Judge Garavan her neck, shoulders and lower back had been injured in the accident and, although she had been treated at Beaumont Hospital and later with physiotherapy and medication, she had got on with her life.
She said she had not played gaelic football since the accident but had returned to her O’Tooles club to manage and train the under-11s girls’ team.
“I think I lost the opportunity to play for the Dublin senior team and win an all-Ireland medal with them. Such an opportunity to make the panel does not come around too often,” she said.
Ms Haughey told Mr Kehoe she held an all-Ireland winner’s medal in soccer and had scored the winning goal in the match. After representing her country in the Irish karate team she had moved on to football.
She agreed with barrister Paul O’Neill, who appeared with Margetson Greene Solicitors for the defendants, that she had been approaching the end of her football career at the time of the accident and there was no guarantee she would have got a position on the Dublin senior team.
Judge Garavan , awarding damages totalling €29,066, said Ms Haughey had suffered a moderate to minor soft tissue injury and he was assessing damages on the basis of a recovery span of three and a half years. He was including a €5,000 figure for loss of sporting injury in his award.