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'Self-defence' Dublin GAA's Cormac Costello denies assaulting player while he was spectator at match

Cormac Costello (27) is alleged to have left Aodan Fee with a broken tooth and a "shredded" mouth.

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Dublin footballer Cormac Costello

Dublin footballer Cormac Costello

Aodan Fee, a footballer with Naomh Mearnog

Aodan Fee, a footballer with Naomh Mearnog

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Dublin footballer Cormac Costello

A DUBLIN GAA star has denied he assaulted a player with a "very, very solid punch" to the face while he was a sideline spectator at a match.

Cormac Costello (27) is alleged to have left Aodan Fee with a broken tooth and a "shredded" mouth.

Mr Fee claimed he had "never been struck as hard before".

The assault allegedly took place following a sideline skirmish during a game between Costello's club Whitehall Colmcille and Naomh Mearnog in Portmarnock.

In his evidence, Mr Costello, a teacher, said he acted in self defence to remove himself from a skirmish happening on the sideline.

He alleged he felt "under attack" and defended himself with a "strong push" after Mr Fee, who was playing for Naomh Mearnog, punched him on the head.

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Aodan Fee, a footballer with Naomh Mearnog

Aodan Fee, a footballer with Naomh Mearnog

Aodan Fee, a footballer with Naomh Mearnog

Judge David King said he wished to consider the evidence before giving his decision and adjourned the case until Thursday.

Mr Costello, of Lorcan Crescent in Santry, had denied seriously assaulting Mr Fee on July 6, 2019.

Mr Fee told Swords District Court he followed a Whitehall player, Luke McCarthy, who had the ball, along the sideline, and tried to tackle him and dispossess him.

Mr Fee said the ball went over the sideline and both players went after it. Mr McCarthy fell and he went down on top of him. He was trying to get up when he felt a third person pulling out of him.

He said he knew this person wasn't a player. As he got up this person was "jostling" him, and he was punched in the face. He alleged this person was Mr Costello.

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Mr Fee said he lost most of his front tooth and the assault "shredded my mouth completely". He accepted he got up and continued playing in the match.

He said he was scared because it is not normal for a spectator to get involved and touch a player.

In his evidence, Mr Costello said he was standing on the sidelines when two players battling for a ball came at speed towards him.

He stepped back, put his hands out and braced himself for contact.

He said the three were now tangled, grabbing on to each other.

He tried to separate the players but Mr Fee tried to pull him down.

Mr Costello said he was hunched over Mr Fee, who was holding on to him.

Mr Fee then "seemed to go mad", swinging out at him, and he was punched to the side of the head.

Mr Costello said he felt "under attack", and he couldn't break away.

He was scared and defended himself by pushing Mr Fee away as hard as he could.

Mr Costello said he then backed off and stayed out of the pushing and shoving.

The case was adjourned until Thursday for a decision.

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