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Attacker pays ref left with broken jaw €5k over horror assault


Daniel Sweeney (pictured) suffered horrific injuries to his face in the attack by Dean Dinnegan

Daniel Sweeney (pictured) suffered horrific injuries to his face in the attack by Dean Dinnegan

Daniel Sweeney (pictured) suffered horrific injuries to his face in the attack by Dean Dinnegan

A soccer referee who suffered a broken jaw and fractured eye socket in a violent assault at the end of a match two years ago has been paid €5,000 compensation by his attacker.

Tullamore Circuit Criminal Court heard yesterday that Dean Dinnegan (22), of Dalton Park, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, had brought the money to court for his victim.

Dinnegan had pleaded guilty to a charge of assault causing harm in an attack on referee Daniel Sweeney, at a match at the grounds of Horseleap United, Co Offaly, on November 11, 2018.

He also pleaded guilty to producing a golf club during the course of the incident.


Sentencing in the case was adjourned by Judge Karen Fergus after hearing a probation report on Dinnegan had not been prepared in time for the sitting because of the Covid-19 restrictions.

Defence counsel Niall Flynn said he believed his client, who is a member of the Traveller community, would benefit from a probation report as it would outline the background to the incident of how he and some other Mullingar Town players were subject to "racist remarks" during the game.

Mr Flynn said the use of such language had also been referenced in the match report by Mr Sweeney.

He acknowledged that the referee had suffered substantial injuries in what was "a nasty incident" involving up to a dozen players that had got "out of control".

Mr Flynn said Dinnegan had held his hands up about his role in the attack and pleaded guilty at an early stage.

He claimed a probation report would also be welcome as Dinnegan's liberty was at risk as he was guilty of a very serious assault at the upper end of the scale.


Dean Dinnegan

Dean Dinnegan

Dean Dinnegan

A letter of apology to Mr Sweeney by Dinnegan was also handed in to court.

Prosecuting counsel Shane Geraghty BL said Mr Sweeney, who had required serious medical attention, had made no racist remarks and "did not deserve a broken jaw".

He pointed out that the referee was attempting to ease the situation when he suffered his injuries.


The court heard that the defendant's father, Sean Dinnegan, is due to go on trial in November on charges related to the same incident.

He is charged with assaulting causing harm to the referee and a 12-year boy, as well as assault on two other individuals.

Dinnegan was remanded on continuing bail until a future hearing of the case in November.