Footballer who broke opponent's jaw escapes jail

A promising young Gaelic footballer has paid over €13,000 in compensation for breaking an opponent's jaw during a game last year.

Sean O'Connor of Kinvara Avenue, Cabra in Dublin admitted punching his marker in the face while playing for St Oliver Plunketts in a club game.

O'Connor was just shy of his 21st birthday when he lined out for Plunketts against Scoil Ui Chonaill last August.

The court was told today that the game, which was played at the opposition's home ground on Clontarf Road, was a competitive and physical clash.

With just 15 mins left on the clock, O'Connor took a heavy tackle from his opposite number Tiarnan Crowe, who was 24 at the time.

He reacted by spinning around and breaking his opponent's jaw with a single punch to the face.

Crowe was rushed to hospital where he needed to have his jaw wired in place.

O'Connor was charged with assault causing harm and he told the court today that he'd apologised to his victim and given him over €13,000 in compensation.

His solicitor said the punch was delivered in the heat of the moment following a robust tackle and the financial services worker was given an opportunity to avoid a criminal conviction by working with the probation services for the next 12 months.

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