Suspect in attack on Donegal ref’ serving lifetime ban as club apologises for incident

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It has emerged that one of the people involved in the attack on Donegal soccer referee Daniel Sweeney is already serving a lifetime ban from football.

Mr Sweeney was attacked after refereeing a game in the Combined Counties Football League last Sunday between Horseleap United and Mullingar Town.

His injuries required surgery after suffering a broken jaw and other facial injuries.

Mr Sweeney, who hails from Dungloe, was set upon by three players and a supporter.

It is understood that the supporter allegedly involved is already banned from playing the sport following an assault on a referee in 2007.

Gardai are investigating while the Football Association and the Irish Soccer Referees Society have already met on the matter.

Mullingar Town, in a.statement on the club’s Facebook page, said the club sent Mr Sweeney their ‘most sincere apologies’

“We as a club do not condone or promote the actions that occurred after the game last week,” the club said.

“That is not who we are as a club. Mullingar Town A.F.C have been playing football for 130 years, in various leagues and cups and we pride ourselves on our core values of respect, good sportsmanship and the inclusion of all in our community.

“That is what we wish to instil in all of our players and how we will conduct ourselves in the future.

“We are so deeply sorry for what happened last Sunday, it is and forever will be a black day for our club and for sport in general. Mullingar Town set out that day to play a game of football and never expected or intended to be involved in an assault on a referee and once again we want to say sorry to Daniel and to his family.

“We wish him all the best in a hopefully quick recovery from his injuries and see him back refereeing again.

“We offer our support to the Sweeney family in any way that they may need it.”

Sports writer from St Johnston, now based in Letterkenny, with ten years' experience covering sport in Donegal. Was a nominee for NUJ Sports Journalist of the Year in 2010. Honoured by the Donegal Boxing Board in 2016 for his coverage on the sport.

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