Tyrone Gaelic football star Cathal McCarron had to be restrained after getting into a row with staff at a Temple Bar pub, a court has heard.
The 2008 All-Ireland winner — who hit the headlines over a gay porn video and his chronic gambling addiction — appeared at Dublin District Court yesterday.
He pleaded guilty to engaging in threatening, insulting, and abusive behaviour at Anglesea St in Dublin city centre on May 12. The public order offence can result in a conviction, fine, and a three-month sentence.
The court heard an irate Mr McCarron had to be restrained by security staff before he was put out of the Auld Dubliner pub and he then became aggressive with gardaí called to deal with the situation.
However, in adjourning the case for a week, Judge Michael Walsh said Mr McCarron would be spared a criminal record if he donated €500 to a homeless charity.
Garda Sergeant Gail Smith told Judge Walsh that gardaí responded to a public order incident at the Auld Dublin, where Mr McCarron was being “restrained by security staff”.
The court was told gardaí separated him from the pub security to ask him what happened and he became aggressive towards them.
Garda Sgt Smith said the Gaelic games star was directed on numerous occasions to calm down but when he threw his top on the ground, gardaí arrested him.
The court heard he had no prior criminal convictions and has not come to Garda attention since.
Dressed in a grey suit, white, open-neck shirt, and brown shoes, the Dromore and Tyrone corner-back did not address the court.
However, his solicitor, Peter Connolly, handed into court a letter from Mr McCarron in which he apologised to gardaí.
He said his client is now studying psychotherapy part-time while continuing to work as a business development officer in a successful firm.
Mr Connolly said the 28-year-old footballer from Omagh is very embarrassed and regrets the incident.
He only drinks alcohol three or four times a year, the solicitor said. He said his client was out with a friend after they completed an exam. However, when bar staff refused them service, Mr McCarron began to remonstrate.
He was restrained with his hand behind his back and became “irate”, Mr Connolly said.
The judge was asked to note Mr McCarron has had a number of well-documented difficulties in his personal and professional life.
Pleading for leniency, Mr Connolly described the Temple Bar incident as the “last speed bump in his situation” and added his client has received support from his family and the GAA.
Judge Walsh said he noted Mr McCarron pleaded guilty, his genuine remorse, and that he was under certain emotional stress which may have been a factor.
He said Mr McCarron was a distinguished member of his team and he had watched him over the years playing in an exemplary manner for Tyrone. He said he would spare him a criminal conviction if he donated €500 to the Capuchin Day Centre for homeless people.
He will be excused from attending the next hearing if the money has been handed over by then.
The footballer, who helped his county win this year’s Ulster Championship, has an autobiography out later this week.
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