Court dismisses former GAA coach's attempt to overturn conviction for abusing young footballers

The Court of Appeal has dismissed a former GAA coach’s attempt to have his convictions for abusing young footballers overturned.

Ronan McCormack from Cuppanagh, Cloonloo in Co. Sligo, was sentenced to almost six years in prison for a series of sexual assaults on five schoolboys.

In 2014, Ronan McCormack was convicted of 53 charges of indecent assault on five boys between October 1981 and August 1986 – four of whom he coached on the Eastern Harps under-12 football team.

Sligo Circuit Court heard he conned some of their families into letting them stay overnight at his home where some of the abuse took place.

One of them was abused while he showed him a county championship medal he won with the club.

Judge Petria McDonnell described the then 72-year-old as a man who groomed the boys when they were aged between 10 and 13.

Mr McCormack’s appeal focused on the directions given to the jury on system evidence and corroboration.

In dismissing his arguments, the Court of Appeal accepted the judge’s charge on those issues was suboptimal, but said they had not been persuaded the conviction was unsafe or that the trial was unsatisfactory.

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