SF police seek public's help in Gaelic football star injury case


Mark McGovern, 22, is a Gaelic football star in Ireland, who came to San Francisco only nine days ago to play for a Gaelic club for the summer months, but he's in a coma instead and police are looking to figure out the mysterious injury that happened at last Saturday's football match.

The match was played on a field on Treasure Island late Saturday afternoon as around 50 spectators watched in the stands. While the ball was in play on the opposite end of the field, player McGovern collapsed on the other end.

"No one actually saw the assault occur, that's why we're asking for the public's help to come forward and speak with us a PD," said Officer Albie Esparza.

San Francisco police say no one is in custody, but they have identified a particular player on the opposing team.

"All we have is that there was a person standing over the player who was seen down on the ground and that person is a person of interest that the police department would like to speak to," said Esparza.

Police will not confirm published reports that the person of interest told the gravely injured McGovern "You won't get up from that."

Meanwhile, the young athlete's family flew in to San Francisco from Ireland to be at his side in the hospital. They joined Gaelic football teammates at a mass at St. Philips Church in Noe Valley, a standing room only service to pray for his recovery.

Gaelic football is the most popular spectator sport in Ireland and matches are played by kicking or passing a soccer-type ball down a field toward an H-shaped goal.

McGovern is one of the sports' most decorated players. Now, he is in critical condition at San Francisco General Hospital. Police are hoping to get photos or video shot by a spectator at that game from last Saturday and they encourage anyone with information to call them.

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