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Dublin star given anger course over late night assault

DUBLIN football star Diarmuid Connolly has been ordered to complete an anger management course before he is sentenced for an unprovoked attack on a man in a pub.

Connolly (25) had earlier pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to Anthony Kelly, who suffered a fractured eye-socket during the incident at McGowan's pub in Phibsboro on August 6, 2012.

An unreserved apology, which was accepted by Mr Kelly, had been issued by Connolly's lawyer during a hearing at Dublin District Court last May.

Mr Kelly had also shook hands with Connolly following that hearing, but had refused to accept compensation. Instead the footballer paid €5,000 to the Barnardo's children's charity and the Rape Crisis Centre. Yesterday the case continued, and after examining medical reports on Mr Kelly as well as his victim impact statement, Judge Patrick Clyne described the attack as unprovoked.

However, he also pointed out that Connolly had donated to charities sums of money which were considerably greater than the maximum fine that the district court could impose.

But he also said the offence carried a possible prison sentence, and he told defence solicitor Michael Hanahoe: "I want your client to do an anger management course and I want a certificate to say he has done it."

He adjourned the case until a date in May and asked for a probation report to be prepared.


The attack happened less than two days after Dublin defeated Laois in a quarter-final of the 2012 All-Ireland senior football championship.

In an outline of the prosecution's evidence given earlier, the court had been told that the attack happened inside the pub at 3.40am.

"It is alleged that the injured party was socialising with a friend (and) it would be alleged that the accused assaulted him in an unprovoked attack," judge Clyne had heard.

Connolly, who has an address at Collins Park, Beaumont, north Dublin, "punched him in the face", the court was told.

Mr Kelly, who is in his thirties, was knocked down and Connolly then "continued to punch him on the ground".

The victim suffered a fractured eye socket during the attack, but he has since recovered from his injuries.

Connolly, who also plays for the north Dublin club St Vincent's, has no previous criminal convictions.

His assault offence carries a possible prison sentence of up to one year.