A senior club player on a hurling team ‘bonding trip’ put a black plastic bag over a bus driver’s head as a prank, resulting in another passenger being flung into the windscreen.
Scott Callanan, who plays with St Finbarr’s in Cork, apologised for the incident, which a judge described as “grossly irresponsible”.
Sgt Paul Kelly told Bandon District Court that, at 11.25pm on July 14, on the Eastern Road in Kinsale, Callanan of 12, Leamlara Close, Togher, Cork, was a passenger on a bus when he put the bag over the driver’s head.
The incident caused the driver to brake suddenly and one of 20 passengers on board, who had been standing in the aisle, was thrown into the front windscreen.
Callanan, a 27-year-old plasterer, pleaded guilty.
The court heard he had had six previous convictions for road traffic offences and had been disqualified from driving for two years in July 2017.
His solicitor Diarmuid O’Shea said of the incident in Kinsale: “He was lucky it wasn’t a lot more serious.”
Mr O’Shea told judge James McNulty that his client was a senior hurler and played with St Finbarr’s GAA Club.
The team had gone to Kinsale on a private hire bus on a team bonding session but Callanan had been injured and couldn’t train.
Mr O’Shea said his client had not drunk for the previous nine months due to his training regime but did consume alcohol on the Kinsale trip.
“It appears to have been a prank,” the solicitor said.
“At the time, it was anything but funny and could have been extremely serious.”
Mr O’Shea said Callanan’s team manager spoke highly of him and that his client was a carer for his father — a central part of his life alongside training and hurling.
On this particular day, he “cut loose” and was deeply apologetic, the solicitor added.
Judge McNulty said: “This was an act which placed other citizens at risk and it was grossly irresponsible for him to have done so.
“Thankfully, it did not have any more serious consequences for anyone.”
He said Callanan had responsibilities to his father and would not have time for community service, meaning instead the offence warranted a “memorable” fine.
The judge said he would fine Callanan €1,000, adding that the defendant was a plasterer at a time when the trades were in short supply.
He said if the money was paid by December 20, the case would be dealt with on a fine-only basis.