GAA silent after Dublin star Davy Byrne assaulted before 'friendly' with Armagh
Officials at the GAA were refusing to comment last night after it emerged that a Dublin player spent two days in hospital after being attacked and injured in the moments before a friendly match with Armagh.
Davy Byrne, of the Ballymun Kickhams club, received serious facial injuries when violence broke out at the behind-closed-doors challenge game against Armagh last Thursday night.
The player suffered a fractured eye socket and a broken nose among other injuries as the game at Dublin City University sports grounds was about to begin.
Byrne, who captained Ballymun to their All-Ireland club final appearance in 2013, was immediately brought to Dublin's Beaumont Hospital. He has since been released.
No Orchard County player is to face disciplinary action over the incident, it was learned yesterday.
GAA social media channels have been buzzing with speculation about last week's violent incident, with many commentators baffled by the absence of official comment from the association about the incident.
It is understood it took place during the interval between the two teams lining up in their positions on the pitch and the referee starting the game.
Because of his injuries, Byrne will now play no part in Sunday's Leinster football final in which Dublin take on Westmeath.
It could also mean he would miss the All-Ireland quarter-final should Dublin beat underdogs Westmeath as expected.
The Dublin v Armagh game was formally ratified by the Croke Park authorities - and it's understood that the GAA will not be conducting any formal investigation into the incident.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, an Armagh county official told the Belfast Telegraph that what happened was "extremely regrettable".
"There is no doubt that incidents of this nature are extremely regrettable and no one wants to see any player ending up in hospital," he said.
Last year Armagh were also in the headlines for the wrong reasons when a pre-match rumpus marred their Ulster Championship meeting with Cavan at the Athletic Grounds.
The trouble flared after players disagreed over the positioning of the counties' flags for the traditional parade around the pitch.
It took about two minutes for order to be restored and young band members had to be shepherded to safety as fists flew.
Five players were subsequently handed one-game suspensions for their part in the disturbance and both counties were initially fined €5,000.
Representatives of the Dublin and Armagh county organisations, as well as GAA headquarters, did not respond last night to request for comment on the Byrne incident when contacted by the Belfast Telegraph.