Man whose scrotum was ripped in GAA game to address court

February 7, 2023

A man who had his scrotum torn during a GAA game has told a judge that he wants to read his victim impact statement out in court.

Laurence McMullan had to be hospitalised following a tackle during a GAA game in Convoy on August 18, 2017.

Michael Friel (pictured above) was charged with assault causing harm to Mr McMullan during the game.

He was due to be sentenced today in the matter.

However, Judge Éiteáin Cunningham said she had just received the victim impact statement as well as the probation and welfare reports in the case.

The court was told that Mr McMullan wished to read out his own victim impact statement to the court.

The accused, Mr Friel, 25, was playing for Naomh Colmcille when he grabbed Mr McMullan, who was playing for St Mary’s, Convoy, by the testicles.

Video footage of the incident was played numerous times at sittings of Letterkenny District Court.

Friel had denied the charge but having considered the evidence, Judge Cunningham found the accused guilty of the charge.

Barrister for Friel, Mr Peter Nolan, instructed by solicitor Mr Frank Dorrian, had applied for the case to be dismissed.

Mr Nolan claimed that Friel did not intentionally cause harm and that such instances were ‘part and parcel’ of the game.

Previous evidence had heard how Mr McMullan received medical treatment at Letterkenny University Hospital for a laceration to his scrotum.

He told how he felt a sharp sting, but played on for the last six minutes of the game.

At the end of the game, Mr McMullan realised he was bleeding and a medical report showed that he sustained a seven-centimetre laceration to his scrotum, which required eight stitches.

Friel, of Millview, Keshends, Newtowncunningham, admitted causing the injury but stressed that the incident was unintentional.

Friel had also sent Mr McMullan a text message to apologise the day after the game.

Mr Nolan had applied for the case to be struck out, saying that the State had failed to prove the level of proof required.

He said the best course of action was that the case be left for ‘civil remedy’ noting that civil proceedings in the case had been lodged in the High Court.

Inspector Paul McHugh said there was no attempt to tackle for the ball, which Mr McMullan had at chest level when the defendant made contact with the victim’s scrotum.

While ‘certain conduct is admissible and consented to’ and there is a ‘certain degree of assumed risk when partaking in contact sport’, Judge Cunningham said the incident fell outside of what Mr McMullan had ‘explicitly consented to’.

The Judge also said that she was satisfied that grabbing an opponent by the testicles and causing a 7cm laceration was not ‘within the rules or culture’ of Gaelic football.

“While Mr Friel did not set out to cause the laceration, I am satisfied that it was a reckless tackle, causing harm,” Judge Cunningham said.

Judge Cunningham found the facts proven.

When the case was adjourned today, Judge Cunningham said she would allow time for both the prosecution and the defence to read both the victim impact statement and the probation and welfare reports.

She adjourned the case until February 27th for finalisation.