Diarmuid Connolly, aged 25, of Collins Park, Beaumont, north Dublin, had pleaded guilty earlier to assault causing harm to Anthony Kelly, who suffered a fractured eye-socket, at McGowan’s public house in Phibsboro, in Dublin, in the early hours of Aug 6, 2012.
An unreserved apology, which was accepted by Mr Kelly, had been issued by Connolly’s lawyer last May during a hearing at Dublin District Court.
Mr Kelly had also shook hands with Connolly after that hearing but refused to accept compensation from him. Instead, the St Vincent’s footballer paid €5,000 to Barnardos and the Rape Crisis Centre.
Yesterday, after examining updated 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 the district court could impose.
But he said the offence carried a possible prison sentence, and told 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 he also asked for a probation report to be prepared.
Earlier, the All-Ireland winning forward’s lawyer had told the court that Connolly “apologises unreservedly to Mr Kelly”.
The attack happened less than two days after Dublin defeated Laois in a quarter-final of the 2012 All Ireland championship.
The offence carries a possible sentence of up to one year.