Dublin star Connolly admits fracturing man’s eye in pub assault days
DUBLIN footballer Diarmuid Connolly has admitted breaking a man's eye socket in an unprovoked attack in a pub.
The 25-year-old, who is on bail, had been charged earlier with assault causing harm to Anthony Kelly at McGowan's public house in in Phibsboro, Dublin, in the early hours of August 6 last.
The attack happened less than two days after Dublin defeated Laois in a quarter-final of the All Ireland Senior Football Championship.
Connolly, who has been tipped as a frontrunner to take over from Bryan Cullen as Dublin team captain for the 2013 season, appeared again in court today.
The Director of Public Prosecutions had decided that the case should be dealt with summarily, in the district court, on a guilty plea only. Otherwise it would have to be referred to the Circuit Court, which has tougher sentencing powers.
Today Connolly's solicitor Michael Hanahoe told Judge Patrick Clyne at Dublin District Court, “I am entering a guilty plea”.
In an outline of the prosecution's evidence, Judge Clyne was told that the attack happened at 3.40 AM in McGowan's pub.
“It is alleged that the injured party was socialising with a friend, it would be alleged that the accused assaulted him in an unprovoked attack,” the court heard.
Judge Clyne was told that Connolly, who has an address at Collins Park, Beaumont, north Dublin, “punched him in the face”. Mr Kelly, who is in his thirties, was knocked down and Connolly then “continued to punch him on the ground”.
Mr Kelly suffered facial injuries including a fractured eye socket during the attack, the district court heard.
In relation to his injuries, “everything has cleared up now,” the court was also told.
A medical report and photographs of his injuries were handed in to the judge who decided to accept jurisdiction to deal with the case after hearing that Mr Kelly had recovered.
Mr Hanahoe asked for an adjournment saying “there are avenues to explore” and that he needed to speak to the prosecuting Garda Aidan Noonan.
Neither Connolly, who was wearing a grey suit, nor the victim were asked to a address the court at the hearing today.
Connolly, who also plays for north Dublin club St Vincent's, has no prior criminal convictions, the judge noted.
Judge Clyne retained a copy of the medical report and the photographs of the victim's injuries; sentencing was adjourned and the case will resume next month. A district court conviction for assault causing harm can carry a possible sentence of up to one year in jail and/or a fine.