Westport United's Joe Lawless
Tuesday, 29 June 2010 09:29
The Mayo Association Football League is to conduct an investigation into an alleged biting incident at a Super League clash between Westport United and Iorras Aontaithe at the Sports Park, Westport, last Thursday evening.
Experienced United central defender Joe Lawless reported to the referee, Martin Halligan, he was bitten in the stomach by an Iorras player, the name of whom is not being published at this time by this newspaper for legal reasons.
Mr. Lawless told The Connaught Telegraph: "It's the worst experience I've ever had on a football pitch. I could not believe that it happened. It should not be tolerated."
He further alleged the same Iorras player had elbowed him in the jaw in a cup match seven days earlier and he required an x-ray,
The referee, Mr. Halligan, said did not witness the alleged bite being inflicted, but he wrote a full report on the circumstances leading up to the alleged incident.
"In the 41st minute, the player wearing the number four jersey for Westport United (Joe Lawless) went to the ground with an Iorras player (whose jersey number Mr. Halligan also recorded) after they had contested a high ball.
"I heard Joe letting out a roar. I did not see what caused him to do that. He held up his jersey to show me teeth marks on his stomach. I booked the Iorras player for not walking away when I asked him. I did not book him for the alleged incident because I did not witness it.
"I was disgusted when I witnessed the teeth marks. It made me feel physically sick."
Mr. Halligan said he is awaiting advice from a senior refereeing official before submitting his report to the Mayo League.
The official nearest the alleged incident, assistant referee Mick Walsh, said he did not see an Iorras player biting Joe Lawless.
"If I had, the player would have been red-carded immediately. What I did witness were the marks on Joe's stomach. There were disturbing to see. The incident should be investigated further."
A spokesman for Iorras Aontaithe denied the allegations that one of their players was involved in a biting incident during the match in question.
Tom Reilly, chairman, said while he accepted such an incident would be unacceptable on the field of play, there was no firm evidence to point to the fact that one of their players was involved.
The manager of Iorras Aontaithe, Michael S. Togher, also denied any knowledge of the alleged incident.
The chairman of the Mayo League, Padraig McHale, confirmed his members will conduct their own investigation into the matter.
Frank Gillivan, the chairman of Westport United, said he would welcome a full investigation into the matter.
"We were all shocked when we saw the marks on Joe's stomach," he added.