In the second sequence the Royal Irish Constabulary confront some young Irishmen who have gathered illegally to play sport. One of the Irishmen gives his name in Irish. An English police officer is incensed and speaks contemptuously about the Irish language. The English RIC men decided to penalise the Irishmen by making them strip. The Irishmen remove their outer clothes but keep on their longjohns and vests. An Irishman is punched by an Englishman. The Irishman (played by Cillian Murphy) hits him back. This is an act of heroism considering he is surrounded by several armed policemen who have their guns trained on him.
The Irishman who gave his name in Irish is taken inside the house that the police are searching as destructively as possible. Later is transpires that the police killed this man for not saying his name in English.
The police would kill a man for saying his name. On the other hand the man who hit the policeman back was not hurt any further. This is illogical. Moreover, the man who punched the police officer was a threat. He might have grabbed the policeman’s gun.