Kerry Gaelic Games pundit Pat Spillane has confirmed that he was assaulted by a number of Donegal fans after he left Croke Park following Donegal’s All-Ireland semi-final victory over Cork two weeks ago.
Speaking to the Donegal Democrat, the nine time All-Star told how, as he departed Croke Park minutes after the game, and as he headed up Clonliffe Road, he was surrounded by a number of Donegal fans. He said he received a number of ‘belts’ in the stomach.
Mr Spillane confirmed also that he did not report the incident to the gardaí.
In his column, which is carried on the back page of this edition, former Derry All-Ireland winner Joe Brolly, described how he spoke to Spillane before the second of the All-Ireland semi-finals between Mayo and Dubin last Sunday and Spillane was still shaken as a result of what Brolly called a ‘scandalous’ attack.
“Once the game was over, as I always do, I left Croke Park immediately because I have over a four and a half hour journey ahead of me back to Kerry,” Spillane told the Democrat yesterday. “As I was headed out of Croke Park and walking up Clonliffe Road, there must have been 10,000 Donegal supporters on the road.
“Many of them were shouting at me and most of the comment was good-humoured banter. But I just kept my head down and carried on about my business before the next thing I knew was that a flag was dropped in front of me and I was surrounded by a number of supporters and I received a couple of belts to the stomach.”
When asked if he was frightened he said he wasn’t, though he did state that it wouldn’t go down as the best 15 minutes in his life.
He also went on to say that he did not feel safe until he was in Urlingford on the way home.
The assault has been condemned by the Donegal GAA chairman, P. J. McGowan, who said he was shocked to hear of the incident and apologised to the Kerryman.
“I’m really shocked to hear of the assault and I want to condemn it in the strongest possible way and I want to apologise to Pat on behalf of the decent and genuine Donegal supporters,” said the chairman.
Mr. McGowan went on to say that while he could understand Donegal supporters getting involved in good-humoured banter with Pat Spillane, he could in no way condone supporters physically assaulting the RTÉ pundit.