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Sunday 21 September 2014

GAA star ordered to coach youngsters after pub attack

Tom Tuite

Published 28/05/2014 | 02:30

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Diarmaid Connolly at the District Court in Dublin yesterday
Diarmaid Connolly at the District Court in Dublin yesterday

DUBLIN football star Diarmuid Connolly has to spend 80 hours teaching GAA to children following an unprovoked attack on a man in a pub.

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Connolly (26) had earlier pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to Anthony Kelly – who suffered a fractured eye-socket – at McGowan's pub in Phibsboro, Dublin, in the early hours of August 6, 2012.

An unreserved apology, which was accepted by Mr Kelly, had been issued by Connolly's lawyer during a hearing last year at Dublin District Court.

Mr Kelly had refused to accept compensation from him, so the footballer gave €5,000 to Barnardos children's charity and the Rape Crisis Centre instead.

He had also been ordered to complete an anger-management course, and a probation report was sought by Judge Patrick Clyne, who described the attack as unprovoked.

The judge has also pointed out that Connolly had donated to charities sums of money which were considerably greater than the maximum fine the court could impose.

Yesterday, the case resumed and the judge read the report as well as documentation in relation to the anger-management course.

He said he wanted Connolly to do "80 hours voluntary service at GAA, dealing with children, over the summer months, teaching them, coaching them".

Defence solicitor Michael Hanahoe said his client, who did not address the court yesterday, was "happy to do it, proud to do it and willing to do it".

The case was adjourned until September but the judge, who said he wanted to "draw a line under it", added that the matter can be re-entered before then if the voluntary work is completed before the next court date.

The attack happened less than two days after Dublin defeated Laois in a quarter-final of the 2012 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship

Connolly, who also plays for north Dublin club St Vincent's, has no prior criminal convictions.

Irish Independent

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