By Mark Jones
A Westmeath footballer suffered a broken cheekbone when fighting broke out at halftime during his team’s National Football League clash with Wicklow at Cusack Park, Mullingar, last Sunday.
Goalkeeper Dermot Ryan had to be taken to hospital when he was assaulted as both sets of players left the pitch at the interval. Tempers boiled over and a free-for-all that erupted between players and officials culminated in Ryan being knocked to the ground.
Because there were several officials in the vicinity of the melee, it should not be too difficult in identifying the culprit. However, GAA investigations into violence have a nasty habit of being wrapped up in bureaucracy.
Not surprisingly, the atmosphere was volatile when both teams came out for the second half. But referee Brian Crowe summoned the two captains to the center of the pitch and laid down the law.
Perhaps motivated by Ryan’s injury, Westmeath went on to win the Div. 2A game by 1-17 to 2-9 and end Wicklow’s 100 percent record for the season.