Northern Ireland

GAA player faces GBH charge at Downpatrick court

A GAA player suffered a fractured cheekbone and needed plates fitted to his face after he was struck by a rival player, Downpatrick Court heard on Thursday.

The incident occurred during a match in June 2008.

James O'Reilly, who played with Loughinisland, is facing a charge of grievous bodily harm against Leitrim Aughavas player Stephen O'Higgins.

Mr O'Reilly told the court he had struck O'Higgins in self defence.

He claimed Mr O'Higgins, who was marking him, had struck him twice in the kidneys and then punched him again.

Mr O'Reilly said Mr O'Higgins was about to punch him a third time but he struck back.

Giving evidence to the court, Leitrim Aughavas player Declan O'Prey said he had seen the two players holding each other's jerseys and jostling.

He had heard a loud slap or smack and then Mr O'Higgins fell to the ground.

Mr O'Reilly now plays for the Richmond Tigers Australian rules team.

The case is set to continue.