Saturday 25 May 2019

Dubs star Diarmuid Connolly pays out €5k to charities nominated by pub attack victim

Diarmuid Connolly at an earlier court appearance
Diarmuid Connolly at an earlier court appearance


DUBLIN football star Diarmuid Connolly has paid €5,000 to charities nominated by man whose eye socket he fractured during an unprovoked attack in a pub.

Connolly (25) has pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to Anthony Kelly at McGowan's public house in Phibsboro, in Dublin, in the early hours of August 6 last year.

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

Mr Kelly had shook hands with Connolly following that hearing but had refused to accept compensation from him. He had asked that the €5,000 offered would be split evenly and given to the Barnardos children's charity and the Rape Crisis Centre.

Today the court was furnished with receipts showing Connolly had complied with the order and had donated the money to the charities nominated by Mr Kelly.

The footballer had not been required to attend court today and the case was adjourned in his absence until December, for sentencing.

The All-Ireland winning forward's solicitor Michael Hanahoe had told the court last month that Connolly “apologises unreservedly to Mr Kelly”.

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

Connolly, who also plays for north Dublin club St Vincent's, has no prior criminal convictions, and his offence carries a possible sentence of up to one year in jail and/or a fine.

In an outline of the prosecution's evidence given earlier, the court had been 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,” Judge Patrick Clyne has heard.

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 a fractured eye socket during the attack, but has recovered, the district court has heard.

In relation to his injuries, “everything has cleared up now,” the court had also been told. A medical report and photographs of his injuries had been handed in and were retained on the court's file.

Judge Clyne had said he was noting Connolly's early guilty plea, the compensation offer and the attendant publicity in the case.

Dublin District Court has also heard that Mr Kelly intends to take a civil action against the footballer.

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