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Man pleads guilty to stealing coach's Heineken Cup medal

A MAN accused of burgling Irish rugby coach Joe Schmidt's house and stealing one of his Heineken Cup Winners' medals, has pleaded guilty.

Fergus Donegan – who has 50 previous convictions – was drunk at the time and was caught by gardai after being spotted acting suspiciously.

Donegan (46), of Nutgrove Crescent, Rathfarnham, pleaded guilty to burglary at an address at Braemor Park in Churchtown, and to possession of black leather gloves and a torch for use in theft at an address at Orwell Court, Churchtown, both on December 9 last.

Judge Anthony Halpin heard that the gold Heineken Cup medal the father of nine stole was recovered "in pristine condition" and was undamaged.

Donegan's defence lawyer, Michael Hennessy, told Tallaght District Court his client "could have taken a punt and fought the case".

He said his client's wife is due to have their tenth child on St Patrick's Day.

The burglary happened last December on the day when Mr Schmidt's Leinster were playing Clermont-Auvergne in France in the Heineken Cup.

Two months ago, Donegan's co-accused, Christy Connors (20), of Green Street, Wexford, pleaded guilty to burglary and was sentenced to 200 hours' community service with six months' detention in default.

Judge Halpin said he would remand Donegan on continuing bail to October 8 for a probation report and for sentencing.

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