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solid punch GAA player assaulted by Dublin star Cormac Costello says he bears him 'no ill will'

It was difficult to listen, but I hold no ill will towards Cormac or anyone involved," Aodan Fee has said

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Aodan Fee talks to Sunday World reporter Patrick O'Connell

Aodan Fee talks to Sunday World reporter Patrick O'Connell

Aodan Fee talks to Sunday World reporter Patrick O'Connell

The victim of a side-line assault by Dublin GAA star Cormac Costello said he "hopes" he will receive an apology from the footballer – after none was offered when the GAA icon was found guilty of the offence earlier today.

In an interview with Sundayworld.com, Naomh Mearnog player Aodan Fee also said his club had tried to have the matter resolved by the "governing body" after the assault took place, and prior to a criminal complaint being lodged, but this was "shot down."

Despite being found guilty of assaulting Mr. Fee on July 6, 2019, secondary school teacher Costello (27) will avoid a conviction on condition he lodges a payment of €1,000 to the court poor box within the next two weeks.

Separately Mr Fee has initiated a civil action arising from injuries he sustained, including "a broken tooth and shredded mouth," during the assault on the sidelines of a game between Costello's club Whitehall Colmcille and Naomh Mearnog in Portmarnock.

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Cormac Costello

Cormac Costello

Cormac Costello

Speaking after today’s verdict, Mr Fee said that Judge David King “had looked at the evidence and he found in this regard (guilty) so I think that’s pretty much it.”

Asked about a claim during his victim impact statement that he wished the GAA’s governing body had dealt with the matter after it occurred, Mr Fee told us: “There was efforts made by our club in an official sense and it was shot down fairly quickly.”

Asked who shot down those efforts, he responded: “The governing body in general.”

Mr Fee agreed it was ‘tough’ having to listen to Costello’s account of the assault in court.

“It was,” he said.

“It was difficult to listen, but I hold no ill will towards Cormac or anyone involved.

“At the end of the day, I don’t want there to be long term repercussions for this.

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Cormac Costello

Cormac Costello

Cormac Costello

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“I’m actually quite pleased that there’s no conviction so it won’t affect his garda vetting for his work.

“I think that’s very important.

“It’s an unfortunate event but this is the outcome I think we wanted.”

During his victim impact statement, Mr Fee said all he had wanted was an apology, but he acknowledged he had not got one during today’s proceedings.

Asked if he still hoped to get one, he said: “I hope so.”

On Tuesday, Costello denied he assaulted Fee with a "very, very solid punch" to the face while he was a side-line spectator at a match.

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

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

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.

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

Giving his decision at this morning’s court in Balbriggan, Judge King said he accepted that Mr Fee’s arm had swung back to free himself after Mr Fee and another player had become entangled, but he said it did not connect with Costello.

He said he did not believe Mr Fee was holding onto Costello but that rather the accused had a hold of Mr. Fee.

He said the defendant’s use of force was not reasonable, had been an ‘over-reaction’ and that he had intervened in a situation he shouldn’t have.

In his victim impact statement, Mr Fee had told the court: “I really wish it hadn’t happened in this way.

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Seven-time Dublin All-Ireland winning footballer Cormac Costello

Seven-time Dublin All-Ireland winning footballer Cormac Costello

Seven-time Dublin All-Ireland winning footballer Cormac Costello

“I wish the assault had never occurred.

“I wish that the children at the game hadn’t seen what unfolded.

“I wish it hadn’t been in the newspapers or that there had been questions raised over my version of events which have now been seen to be true.

“I wish the senior governance of the sport that were rang had gone through it and investigated the matter themselves.

“A simple genuine apology to myself, the club and the people who saw it would have been enough.

“I bear no ill will towards anyone.

“Nor would I want anyone to suffer long term because of this … for a single stupid act.

“So, I ask the judge to be as lenient as possible in his consideration of this matter.”

Judge King described Mr. Fee’s statement as very fair.

Defence solicitor Robert Purcell said Costello was a secondary school teacher, a successful sportsman and had no previous convictions.

Judge King ordered that he donate €1,000 to charity adding, if he did so, he would grant a discharge under the Probation Act – leaving Costello without a criminal conviction.

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