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High Cost-ello GAA star Cormac Costello avoids assault conviction after €1,000 charity donation

He was found guilty of assault last month but a judge said he would apply the Probation Act if Costello donated €1,000 to charity.

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15 November 2020; Cormac Costello of Dublin scored 0-7 during the Leinster semi-final against Laois

15 November 2020; Cormac Costello of Dublin scored 0-7 during the Leinster semi-final against Laois

15 November 2020; Cormac Costello of Dublin scored 0-7 during the Leinster semi-final against Laois

DUBLIN GAA star Cormac Costello has been left without a conviction after he punched a player while he was a sideline spectator at a match.

The seven-time Dublin All-Ireland winning footballer left Aodan Fee with a broken tooth and a "shredded" mouth following the pitchside assault.

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

Costello, a teacher, had claimed he acted in self-defence to remove himself from a skirmish happening on the sideline.

He was found guilty of assault last month but a judge said he would apply the Probation Act if Costello donated €1,000 to charity.

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Dublin GAA player Cormac Costello

Dublin GAA player Cormac Costello

Dublin GAA player Cormac Costello

When the matter came before Balbriggan District Court today, Judge Dermot Dempsey was told the money had been paid to Macmillan Cancer Support, a charity chosen by the victim.

Judge Dempsey applied the Probation Act, leaving Costello without a conviction.

The 27-year-old was not required to attend court today.

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

During the trial last month, Mr Fee said he followed a Whitehall's 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.

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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 Costello.

Mr Fee said he lost most of his front tooth and the assault "shredded my mouth completely".

In his evidence, Costello claimed he was standing on the sideline 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 tried to separate the players but Mr Fee tried to pull him down.

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

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

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

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

Finding him guilty of assault, the judge said Costello's behaviour was "an overreaction", he "should have known better", and he had intervened in a situation in which he shouldn't have.

In a victim impact statement, Mr Fee said he wished the assault hadn't happened.

He said he wished the GAA had investigated the matter themselves, and all he had wanted was an apology.

Mr Fee also told the court he bore no ill-will towards anyone, nor did he wish for anyone to suffer any long-term impacts for what was a "single, stupid act".

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