A celebrity-led GAA match involving former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp and ex-Chelsea star Gianluca Vialli has landed a publican in trouble — after visiting fans were found on his premises two hours after the bar should have been closed.
Michael O’Driscoll, licensee and owner of the Tanyard Bar in Skibbereen, Co Cork, appeared before Skibbereen District Court on different summonses from the same night, August 13, 2018, in relation to serving after hours and having people on the premises after closing time.
Judge James McNulty heard that the previous night, August 12, had seen a match between Castlehaven GAA Club and Erin’s Isle from Dublin, a rematch of a famous and still-disputed club semi-final encounter from two decades before.
The match also formed part of the AIB-backed The Toughest series, with Redknapp managing Castlehaven and Vialli taking charge of Erin’s Isle.
The court heard that gardaí first attended at the bar at 1.14am when loud music was audible and it was full of patrons, with the licensee on the premises.
Gardaí asked that the bar be cleared but when they returned at 1.50am, people were still present.
Gardaí withdrew a second set of summons against Mr O’Driscoll, relating to the second after-hours detection, and a summons against the bar manager on the night, following a guilty plea by Mr O’Driscoll.
The court heard Mr O’Driscoll had nine previous convictions for similar offences in 2005 and in 2015.
Liam O’Donovan, solicitor for Mr O’Driscoll, said his client had owned the bar since 1999 and readily applies for special exemptions.
“Genuinely, my client did not expect the clients that came to the premises that night,” he said, adding that, in the business, money was tight and overheads were huge. He said it was raining heavily and customers had been waiting for taxis as they were mostly from the Dublin area and were staying in B&Bs in different locations.
Judge McNulty said Mr O’Driscoll had been “cavalier about complying with the licensing laws”.
He fined him €1,500 for selling intoxicating liquor at a time prohibited, another €1,500 for having the premises open after hours, and another €1,500 for allowing intoxicating liquor to be consumed on the premises. Other charges were taken into consideration and the judge said there would be no cost for any appeal but also directed that Mr O’Driscoll’s licence be endorsed with the particulars of the conviction.