Players suspected of brutally beating referee after amateur soccer game in Ireland

Liz Roscher
Three players are suspected of brutally beating a referee after an amateur soccer game in Ireland. (Getty Images)
Three players are suspected of brutally beating a referee after an amateur soccer game in Ireland. (Getty Images)

A referee at an amateur soccer match in Ireland was brutally attacked by three players after the game, sending him to the hospital with multiple facial injuries.

Just before the attack on Sunday, Daniel Sweeney was refereeing a match between Mullingar Town FC and Horseleap FC of Ireland’s Combined Counties League. According to the Irish Times, Sweeney was at his car, which was parked in the lot of a pub near the soccer pitch in Horseleap, when he was attacked.

Sweeney was taken to a local hospital to receive treatment for his injuries. Paul O’Brien, president of the Irish Soccer Referees Society, spoke to the BBC and said Sweeney “had his jaw broken on both sides, another break higher up and has a broken bone below the eye, plus stitches in his nose.” Ouch.

The suspects are three men in their 20s and 30s. According to the BBC, the men are believed to be players for Mullingar. Mullingar won the match 3-1, but the Irish Times pointed to a separate incident from the game that may have spurred the attack.

It is understood the attack stemmed from an incident that occurred at the end of the match involving three players and a spectator during which a yellow card was issued.

Combined Counties League chairman Séan Montgomery called for lifetime bans for the three attackers and told the Independent that the club would receive a significant fine. “There will be no stone unturned in terms of how we deal with this. It is completely and utterly unacceptable.”

None of Sweeney’s injuries are life threatening, but they will require extensive recovery time. He had surgery on Monday, and is expected to spend at least two weeks in the hospital. He will also receive specialty treatment from the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital in Dublin.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on Twitter at @lizroscher.

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