Monday 20 November 2017

Former GAA coach and mentor jailed for sexually abusing under-age player

Brian McDonald

A FORMER GAA coach and mentor was behind bars last night for sexually abusing one of his under-age players.

Seamus Kilroy (57) had been found guilty by a jury at an earlier sitting of Roscommon Circuit Criminal Court of three counts of indecently assaulting Neil Connaughton when he was a 10-year-old star players with Athleague-Tremane Hurling Club in Co Roscommon.

The offences had all occurred in 1983, when Kilroy was a trusted family friend and former inter-county hurler with Roscommon.

Kilroy of Clooneyourish, Athleague had denied indecently assaulting the boy in a car and a field at Knockadangan, Athleague.

A farmer and electrical technician, he had called to the Connaughton family home and took Neil to watch a video of the under-age team training.

But, the court heard that he had indecently assaulted him in his car down a by-road and later assaulted him sexually in a field. Kilroy had later assaulted him in his van.

In a moving victim impact statement in court last night, Neil Connaughton waived his right to anonymity and told how the abuse had destroyed his life.

He had become addicted to alcohol, had lost his self-confidence and had nightmares about Kilroy. He had only managed to get his life back together through the love and support of his wife, Marguerite.

He had greatly feared that Kilroy would go on to abuse his son and even took days off from his job in the Prison Service to drive past his school to ensure that his car was not parked nearby.

He had made his statement of complaint to two gardai as he was being treated at St John of God’s in Dublin.

“”I’ll not be a victim of what happened. I’m here to declare that Neil Connaughton is a survivor”, he said.

Judge Tony Hunt told defence barrister John Shortt that he could take it that he would be imposing a custodial sentence and remanded Kilroy in custody to Longford Circuit Court next week for sentence.

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