Monday 18 December 2017

Disgraced Olympic boxer Michael O'Reilly appears in court

Olympic boxer Michael O’Reilly arriving at Thurles District court this Tuesday morning
Olympic boxer Michael O’Reilly arriving at Thurles District court this Tuesday morning
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

OLYMPIC boxer Michael O'Reilly (23) has been charged with public order offences before a Tipperary court.

O'Reilly, who was sent home from the Rio Olympics last month after one of his samples tested positive for a banned substance, appeared before Thurles District Court today on a bench warrant.

He had not appeared before Thurles District Court when the matter was first listed before Judge Elizabeth MacGrath on May 3 last.

A bench warrant was subsequently issued.

The boxer, of Mountrath, Co Laois, is charged under Section 4, 6 and 8 of the Public Order Act in relation to an alleged incident at Ballybeg, Littleton in north Tipperary on April 18 last.

It is alleged that O'Reilly was drunk in public, engaged in threatening or insulting behaviour and failed to comply with the lawful instructions of a Garda.

The boxer appeared in court wearing blue jeans and a light blue shirt.

He did not speak during the hearing and declined to comment to reporters as he left Thurles courthouse.

"I've nothing to say, thanks," he said.

Judge MacGrath was told that Gardai were seeking an adjournment in the matter given that further charges may be involved.

Sergeant Declan O'Carroll, for the State, said directions are now awaited from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) over the matter.

"Further charges may be involved," he said.

"There are a number of allegations from one side. It is a matter where there were several arrests."

"The file in the matter is almost ready."

JJ Fitzgerald, for Mr O'Reilly, said his client was anxious for the matter to be dealt with.

Gardai sought an adjournment in the matter until late December.

Judge MacGrath said she was anxious for it to be dealt with given that it involved an April date.

"In the meantime, if it is clarified that no further charges are preferred, all statements should be given  to Mr Fitzgerald," she said.

"Your client (Mr O'Reilly) has lost time on his own account."

Judge MacGrath queried why Mr O'Reilly did not appear before the district court on May 3 last

"He had a very good reason why he was not here," Mr Fitzgerald said.

However, Judge MacGrath noted that Mr O'Reilly could have instructed a solicitor on that date instead.

"Yes, he could," Mr Fitzgerald agreed.

Judge MacGrath adjourned the matter until December 6 next.

Mr O’Reilly (23) is from Clonmel, Co Tipperary but has been based in Laois over recent years.

A member of Portlaoise Boxing Club, he was sent home from the Olympic Games in Rio last month after it was confirmed a sample he had

supplied in Ireland had tested positive for a banned substance.

O’Reilly later said he had unintentionally taken a supplement which resulted in the positive sample test.

The middleweight was one of Ireland’s main hopes for a medal at the Brazil games.

He had won a bronze medal at the 2015 World Amateur Championships in Doha.

The boxer had previously taken a gold medal at the 2015 European Championships in Baku.

He was sent home from the Rio Games immediately he decided not to appeal the result of his positive sample.

The boxer is now facing a ban from his sport though the duration of the ban has yet to be confirmed.

In a statement released as he was about the travel back to Ireland from the Rio Games, he said the positive sample was a result of taking

a supplement given to him by “someone unrelated to his team or his association.”

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