Wednesday 21 February 2018

Galway hurler Jonathan Coen punished for driving golf buggy along main road while drunk after wedding

Galway's Johnny Coen
Galway's Johnny Coen
Galway hurler Jonathan Coen
Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

Galway hurler Jonathan Coen has been disqualified from driving by a court in Fermanagh after he drunkenly drove a golf buggy from a wedding reception into town.

Coen (24), who has been a member of the Galway senior hurling team since 2011, pleaded guilty to drink driving and taking a conveyance without authority at Enniskillen Magistrates Court on Monday.

The hurler was at the wedding of teammate David Collins at the Lough Erne Resort in Fermanagh on Friday, November 6 last when the incident occurred.

When he couldn't get a taxi back into Enniskillen in the early hours of Saturday morning Mr Coen took a golf buggy which was sitting in the grounds of the resort with the keys inside.

He was stopped by police after they received calls of a buggy being driven on the main Lough Shore Road, Silverhill, at 4.20am in the morning.

The court heard that Mr Coen had travelled four miles from the resort and was "weaving" along the road when police stopped him, according to reports in the Fermanagh Herald.

He was taken to Enniskillen Police Station, where his alcohol reading was more than twice the legal limit.

Mr Coen, who also plays for his local Loughrea team, was travelling with a second Galway hurler in the buggy when he was stopped.

When interviewed the next morning Mr Coen, a teacher, accepted full responsibility for taking the buggy. His defence solicitor Barry Lynam said the hurler accepted his actions had been "foolish in the extreme".

Judge Nigel Broderick said the buggy was in no way fit for the public road, particularly in the hours of darkness.

He said if any vehicle had come along, Mr Coen and his passenger, along with others on the road, could have been killed.

The court was told Mr Coen had no previous convictions in either the North or South. It heard he was of good character and a reference was handed in from his employer.

Judge Nigel Broderick said the incident was not the usual case of drink driving. He said it was all the more remarkable given his good character and that he was employed in a position of responsibility.

He disqualified the hurler from driving for 14 months, until retested, and fined him £250. He fined him a further £100 for taking the buggy.

Irish Independent

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