A SOCCER referee was admitted to hospital over the weekend following an alleged incident that took place in the aftermath of a match in Westmeath.
League of Ireland fan and part-time match official Joe Cassidy took to Twitter to share an image of the referee, who was left with a bloodied, swollen face as a result of the incident.
The ref has been identified as Daniel Sweeney, from Tullamore, County Offaly, who was officiating the match between Horseleap FC and Mullingar Town FC when the incident took place.
"One of our Referees in Midland Branch today after a game was viciously attacked by players," Cassidy wrote alongside the image.
"This should not be tolerated at all. We as Referees doing a job no REF no game."
According to Cassidy, the incident involved three players and a supporter and occurred during the game.
One of our Referees in Midland Branch today after a game was viciously attacked by players this should not be tollarted at all we as Referees doing a job no REF no game pic.twitter.com/YgPpAhSNpD
— Joe Cassidy Athlone (@JoeCassidyIRE) November 11, 2018
The image sparked angry reactions from followers online.
"This is GBH and well outside the remit of the FA it's a criminal act should be met with the full force of the law," one wrote.
"Time for criminal convictions to follow for this behaviour. It's an assault plain and simple," another added.
According to the Irish Mirror, Gardai has launched a probe, having been called to the scene of the incident during the match between Horseleap FC and Mullingar Town FC.
Gardai confirmed in a statement that officers were called to the scene shortly before 1pm.
"It's understood a match referee in his 50s was physically injured when a disturbance broke out during a football match," they said.
"The injured man was taken to Tullamore hospital by ambulance for treatment."
The Irish Soccer Referee Society has also issued a statement of support for Sweeney on Facebook.
"We wish our friend and colleague from the Midland Branch a speedy recovery following a vicious assault that was perpetrated on him today at a game He has our full support at this difficult time," it reads. "Our Society President, Paul O'Brien has been in touch with the referee tonight as he awaits surgery for his injuries."
No arrests have been made as yet and inquiries are ongoing.