THE Olympic dream of a record-holding Irish weightlifter now lies in the balance following his guilty pleas to firearm and drug offences.
At Ennis Circuit Court, Michael Collins, counsel for Sean McNamara (21), pleaded with Judge Gerald Keyes not to impose a jail term on his client as it would dash his ambitions of representing Ireland at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Mr Collins said that Mr McNamara is a current All-Ireland and Munster title holder and has recorded two national records in his weight category and age group.
"He is now being picked on an elite squad for Rio and is the public interest to be served by dashing that because of his involvement in something where he was under the influence of others?" he asked.
Mr Collins added Mr McNamara is on the shortlist for the national development squad on a programme known as the 'Road to Rio'.
Mr McNamara, of Doonogan, Mullagh, Co Clare, has pleaded guilty to the possession of a sawn-off shotgun and the possession and sale and supply of a small amount of cocaine on October 16, 2010 at Doonogan.
The firearm offence carries a minimum mandatory sentence of five years unless special and exceptional circumstances exist.
In evidence, Det Garda Stephen Hession said that Mr McNamara was "very naive" and had become involved with an organised group selling cocaine in north and west Clare.
The judge said that he required time to consider sentence and adjourned the case to Ennis Circuit Court to June 18.