Sunday 22 April 2018

Football star offers €5,000 to victim over fractured eye socket

Dublin player apologises for unprovoked attack

Diarmuid Connolly
Diarmuid Connolly
Anthony Kelly

Tom Tuite

DUBLIN football star Diarmuid Connolly has issued an unreserved apology to a man who suffered a fractured eye socket during an unprovoked attack in a pub.

The 25-year-old had pleaded guilty earlier 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.

The All-Ireland winning forward has been selected to play for Dublin in today's Leinster Senior Championship match against Westmeath, in Croke Park.

Yesterday, defence solicitor Michael Hanahoe told Judge Patrick Clyne at Dublin District Court that Connolly "apologises unreservedly to Mr Kelly" and was willing to offer him €5,000 in compensation.

Mr Kelly said "apology accepted" but asked that the money would instead be donated evenly between the Barnardos children's charity and the Rape Crisis Centre. The two men shook hands outside the court after the hearing.

The court also heard that Mr Kelly intended to bring a civil action against the footballer.

COMPENSATION

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

Judge Clyne said sentencing will be dealt with in December. Connolly was remanded on continuing bail.

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

Connolly had once been tipped as a frontrunner to take over as Dublin team captain for the 2013 season. The footballer, 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 in March, the court had been told that the attack happened at 3.40am 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.

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 since, the district court heard.

Irish Independent

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