Footballer who broke opponent’s leg spared jail
Accused tackled victim with two-footed ‘Kung Fu challenge’ during soccer match
The court heard Andrew Duffy had paid a substantial sum of unconditional compensation to the injured player
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 received a suspended sentence at Trim Circuit Court yesterday.
Andrew Duffy (30), of Lanyon Manor, Eglantine Place, Belfast, was convicted in November of assault causing harm to Mark Bannon (24), Moneymore, Drogheda, Co Louth, at Marshallstown, Kilmessan, Co Meath, on October 8th, 2011.
Duffy was playing in a midfield position for Kilmessan and Mr Bannon was playing right back for Drogheda side Boyne Valley in a Meath and District League reserve match when Mr Bannon’s leg was broken following a tackle by Duffy.
Mr Bannon told the trial he had cleared the ball when he saw Duffy coming towards him to make a tackle.
“He was in the air with his knees to his chest. He extended his legs out in a downward motion and connected with my left leg,” he said.
He said he heard the bone break and as he lay on the ground screaming, Duffy stood over him smiling.
Match referee Michael Bryan had told the court Duffy ran towards Mr Bannon and jumped in the air before the tackle, which he described as a two-footed “Kung Fu challenge”.
The referee said Duffy was gesturing to the spectators after he was shown the red card.
Mr Bryan added that Duffy had been given a 16-week playing ban, which was the longest in the history of the league.
Duffy had told gardaí the incident happened when he went for a 50/50 ball with the other player. “We were both running very fast. I was slightly late. I dived in with both feet to get the ball and hit his leg. I heard the sound of it breaking. I walked away as I couldn’t bear to look at it,” he said.
He had not intended to injure his opponent and added it was “simply a miscalculation”.
The case was adjourned until yesterday for sentence. In a victim impact statement read to the hearing Mark 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 had been unable to fulfil his ambition of joining the Army which was a family tradition. He would never play competitive soccer again although he had played non-competitive games on astro-turf pitches since the injury. He added he had a metal rod in his leg and could not walk long distances.
The court heard Duffy had paid a substantial sum of unconditional compensation to the injured player, which Mr Bannon had described as “life-changing money” which he intended to use for educational courses.
Judge Michael O’ Shea imposed a sentence of three years which he suspended on condition Duffy enter a bond to keep the peace for three years.