Monday 11 December 2017

GAA fan drowned after night out with friends following All-Ireland final

Croke Park
Croke Park

Louise Roseingrave

A 25-year-old Kerry fan who travelled to Dublin for the All-Ireland football final drowned after a night out with friends, an inquest heard. Micheal O'Donoghue from Ross Road, Killarney, Co Kerry was found dead on the morning of September 20 2014, the day before Kerry won the Sam Maguire.

His body was spotted in the Royal Canal near Phibsboro by a passing cyclist.

Spanish national Laura Lopez was cycling along the canal towards Cabra shortly before 8am when something in the water caught her eye. "I wasn't sure what it was, but when I looked closely I could see a hand and I knew it was a person," she said.

The young man's father, Harry O'Donoghue, called for improved safety measures at Locke six along the canal, where an embankment had collapsed, Dublin Coroner's Court heard.

"Just make it safer, that's all. It will save another life," Mr O'Donoghue said.

Micheal O'Donoghue had travelled by train from Kerry with a group of friends. They arrived in Dublin at 9.05pm on Friday, September 19. They rented an apartment in Parnell Square where they had a few drinks before walking to McGowan's Pub in Phibsboro.


John O'Callaghan told Dublin Coroner's Court that he was with Mr O'Donoghue when he tripped down some steps and security asked him to leave. He said the pair drank a shot each at the bar earlier. "He slipped down some steps and security escorted him out. I saw him trying a few taxis outside and presumed he'd be okay," he said.

Security worker Sean Egan said it was 1.15am when Mr O'Donoghue was asked to leave McGowan's. "He was not causing any trouble. I told him it was time to go and he agreed with me," he said.


A post-mortem confirmed the cause of death was drowning and revealed Mr O'Donoghue had a blood-alcohol level of 322 milligrams per 100 millilitres. "An extremely high level of alcohol," Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said.

Garda Graham Lockman said the young man was walking in the opposite direction of the rented apartment at Parnell Square.

"He exited McGowan's and turned left, but it's not clear how he got to the canal," Gda Lockman said. The area where he entered the canal is poorly lit, and an embankment had fallen away, the court heard.

Returning a verdict of death by misadventure, Dr Farrell said he would ask Waterways Ireland to examine the fallen embankment and consider installing a safety rail, lighting and warning signs.


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