Referee assaulted after soccer match says he forgives attackers

Daniel Sweeney left with jaw, eye socket fractures following pub car park attack

A referee who was left with a broken jaw and fractured eye socket after a soccer match in Co Offaly at the weekend has said he forgives those who attacked him.

Daniel Sweeney, originally from Dungloe, Co Donegal, but living in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, was refereeing a match between Horseleap United and Mullingar Town in Horseleap on Sunday.

After the match, he was attacked in a pub car park beside the pitch as he was getting ready to leave. He was left with two fractures to his jaw, one fracture to his eye socket and multiple cuts and bruises, some of which required stitches.

No arrests have been made but gardaí in Tullamore are confident that they know the identity of those responsible – three men in their 20s and 30s who are associated with Mullingar Town FC. The force expects to make arrests over the assault in the near future.


Better safety measures

Speaking to RTÉ, Mr Sweeney said: “To the individuals involved, I bare no animosity whatsoever for what happened. I actually forgive you for what happened.”

He said he wants better safety measures put in place for referees.

“What I would like to see out of this is, is that a referee can go on to a football field and feel safe and be safe,” he said.

Mr Sweeney thanked the public for their support in the aftermath of the attack and praised the medical staff for their care and attention.

“I just want to say thank you to all the people who have given messages of support. It has been overwhelming,” he said.

The married father-of-two underwent surgery on Monday and is expected to require a further two weeks of treatment including from specialists in the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital in Dublin.