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Ulster GAA player who grabbed opponent’s testicles charged with assault

A medical report showed that Laurence McMullan had suffered a seven centimetre laceration to his scrotum and had to receive eight stitches to the wound

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A player who grabbed an opponent’s testicles during a Gaelic football match in Co Donegal has been charged with assault.

Teacher Michael Friel appeared at Letterkenny District Court charged with a Section 3 assault causing harm to Laurence McMullan at Convoy GAA pitch.

The accused was playing for Naomh Colmcille from Newtowncunningham away to rivals Naomh Mhuire from Convoy, on August 19, 2017.

Filmed footage of the game and, specifically, the incident was repeatedly played during the case.

With six minutes of the game left, Mr McMullan, player/manager of St Mary’s, surged forward but was surrounded by a number of Naomh Colmcille players.

One of the players was Mr Friel, who, it is alleged, grabbed Mr McMullan by the testicles.

Mr McMullan can be seen going to ground, before speaking to the referee and carrying on playing for the remaining six minutes of the game.

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At the end of the game he is seen on his knees being attended to by other players and officials.

He later received medical treatment at Letterkenny University Hospital for a laceration to his scrotum.

In his evidence Mr McMullan told of the encounter and how he felt a sharp sting in his testicles but thought it was just a bad scrape and managed to play on.

However, at the end of the game he put his hands down his shorts and realised he was bleeding and was taken to hospital.

A medical report showed that Mr McMullan had suffered a seven-centimetre laceration to his scrotum and had to receive eight stitches to the wound.

He said he felt very uncomfortable and it took a month after the incident for the pain and healing to stop.

A medical consultant’s report said Mr McMullan had suffered a laceration after another player had accidentally grabbed him by the scrotum.

However, the victim said he never used the word ‘accidentally’ and this must have been used by the medical consultant.

Barrister for the accused, Mr Peter Nolan, instructed by solicitor Frank Dorrian, put it to Mr McMullan that this was merely an accident in the ‘rough and tumble’ of the game and that the injury was minor.

Mr McMullan said he had been playing GAA for 30 years, had been intentionally injured before and felt the accused had intentionally meant to injure him on this occasion.

The court was told that Mr Friel had sent Mr McMullan a text the following day apologising, saying he didn’t realise where he was grabbing him and that he never intentionally meant to hurt him.

Giving evidence, Mr Friel, of Millview, Keshends, Newtowncunningham, said he acknowledged causing the injury but stressed it was unintentional.

Cross-examining Mr Friel, Garda Inspector Paul McHugh said there was no attempt to tackle for the ball as Mr McMullan had the ball at chest level when the accused made contact with the victim’s scrotum.

“How can you say you made every attempt to get the ball, are we watching the same thing at all?” asked Inspector McHugh.

In reply, Mr Friel said it may not have been the best tackle but it was an attempt.

Barrister Peter Nolan made an application for the case to be struck out, saying the State had failed to prove the level of proof required and added that this was a sporting situation.

He added that his client never went out on to the pitch with any intention to hurt Mr McMullan. 
Judge Ms Éiteáin Cunningham said she was satisfied the accused had a case to meet.

Having heard further representations she said she was reserving her judgment in the case until September 19.


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