Ireland's Eye: What's going on in the old sod this week


Stop the GAA Violence
UNLESS the GAA takes serious steps to tackle the issue of on-field violence, more and more assault cases arising from GAA games will appear before the courts.

That’s the verdict of a Kiltimagh man who was assaulted by an opposing player minutes after the final whistle of a championship game last year.

Darragh Sloyan, 27, was the victim of an assault by Davitts GAA player James Cummins after a Mayo club championship match between Kiltimagh and Davitts in Ballindine on June 12, 2011. Sloyan was left with a broken nose which required two operations to correct.

Now, speaking after the case against Cummins was finalized in court, Sloyan has said that too many assaults take place on GAA fields with no thought for the consequences.

The Mayo News is aware of at least three other cases currently being investigated by An Garda Siochana (police) in relation to alleged assaults on GAA fields in Mayo this summer.

“People seem to forget that it is meant to be about football and is a game -- we all have to work in the morning,” Sloyan said. “When you go out and play you might get accidentally injured and miss work the next day, but for a fella to come up and hit you like that is just not acceptable.

“When I came home from hospital afterwards my eldest son, who was two and a half years old at the time, didn’t know who I was with the mask I had on my face. That wasn’t nice and I couldn’t leave the house for two weeks because I didn’t want to see anyone in the state I was in.

“The way it tends to happen in the GAA is that the person who was attacked often seeks revenge in the next game between the same teams. It can be acceptable to ‘do’ him in return. It’s GAA justice.

It’s part and parcel of the GAA. The original victim then is seen as a bollocks for pursuing it through the courts, not the man who did it.”

Speaking in court last Friday when asked by Judge Mary Devins if he had anything to say, Sloyan said he would not have reported the matter to the Gardai if the GAA had dealt with the issue themselves.

“I spoke to a county board official and I was told he [Cummins] got a four week suspension for what happened during the game [Cummins was sent off during the match in question] but that what happened after the game was, essentially, not their problem.

“I said I was still wearing my jersey standing minding my own business in the middle of a GAA ground. If I was playing rugby or soccer I think the issue would have been dealt with much better. The player might be suspended for a long time. Essentially the GAA washed their hands of me.”

Sloyan, who played at senior, under-21 and minor level for Mayo, said he didn’t like to be making these comments but said he felt it is time something was done.

“I don’t want to sound like I am making a big deal out of this but it was so wrong and I was badly affected by it. I was hung out to dry here, left on my own by the GAA,” he said.

Mayo News

Sisterly Births
THERE’S nothing like a little sisterly support, especially when going into hospital to give birth -- and for two sisters from Newry, this was never truer.

Olivia Strain and her sister Colleen Markey, both nine months pregnant, were both taken into Daisy

Hill Hospital in the early hours of Thursday with contractions.  Olivia was taken down to the delivery suite first and at 8:53 a.m. she gave birth to a boy, Callum Phelim Gerard Strain, weighing in at 7 pounds 11 ounces.

Just over three hours later her younger sister Colleen added another boy to the family when Alfie Anthony Eugene Pentony was delivered, weighing 6 pounds 9 ounces.

Olivia's husband Gerard said, "We're all over the moon, especially Callum's older sister Bethany.  The two babies are healthy and the two girls are doing great, so everyone's delighted."

Gerard explained how the coincidence started at 2 a.m. on Thursday morning when Olivia woke up saying she knew there was something wrong with Colleen.  Unbeknown to her at the time, Colleen's contractions had started and she was preparing to go into hospital.

Within minutes Olivia started having contractions and they left for Daisy Hill arriving at 4 a.m., only to meet Colleen who arrived two hours later.

Delighted grandma Margaret Markey said, "I am delighted, just thrilled to bits. The girls were always close but to give birth to two sons on the same morning in the same hospital is incredible.”

Newry Democrat

Dangerous Websites
A DONEGAL coroner has criticized the online culture of websites that detail alarming information on self harm and suicide methods, saying that “we can no longer bury our heads in the sand” on the issue.

Coroner John Cannon made his remarks at Letterkenny Coroners Court which heard the inquests of three deaths by suicide that occurred just weeks apart last December and January.