Sunday 27 May 2018

Rugby player who lost pro contract after card-game assault avoids conviction

Neilus Keogh: punched victim
Neilus Keogh: punched victim

Aaron Rogan

A LIMERICK rugby player who lost his professional contract after attacking a man during a poker game has avoided a conviction on condition he pays €10,000 to his victim.

Neilus Keogh (27), formerly of Milltown Hall, Mount St Annes, Milltown, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm on Michael Frisby (57) at The Sporting Emporium, Anne's Lane, Dublin 2 on April 5 2012.

On his last court appearance in February 2014, Judge Patrick McCartan ordered Keogh to undergo anger management counselling and to return with €10,000 to show “real remorse”.

Keogh, who is originally from Limerick, signed a contract with English first division side Nottingham in June 2013 worth £1,700 per month. There was a clause in the contract that it would terminate if he was convicted.

Defence counsel, Ronan Kennedy BL, said that despite not receiving a conviction his contract was not renewed last year due to the “adverse publicity” of the case. Keogh now works as a labourer in London since losing his contract with Nottingham RFC.

Keogh was playing cards with eight other people in the Sporting Emporium Casino where he was a regular. When he lost money in a hand he stood up and out of the blue hit Mr Frisby in the face and threw a chair down on top of him.

Mr Frisby suffered three broken bones in his face and damaged nerves around his mouth. An operation was required to insert two metal plates in his face held together by eight steel screws.

In his victim impact report, Mr Frisby said he had no chance to defend himself and was struck with a chair while lying unconscious on the floor.

Mr Kennedy said that Keogh had dealt with his anger issues and drinks a lot less since the incident. He said Mr Keogh had paid very highly for his own foolishness.

Keogh now plays for London Irish as an amateur and earns £350 a week labouring on building sites.

Judge Patrick McCartan said the loss of his career was “a very regrettable but nonetheless an almost inevitable consequence of his wrong doing.” He said he would extend the full leniency available to the court due to Keogh’s remorse and wished him well in the future.

The judge ordered Keogh to hand over €10,000 to the victim and imposed the Probation Act, meaning that no conviction will be recorded.

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