Former Cork City footballer remanded in custody on cocaine charges

Teenager’s drug use affected his sporting career and he is no longer playing for Cork City FC, court heard
Former Cork City footballer remanded in custody on cocaine charges

Elyjas Eshaji, 19, of Jamesfort Avenue, Kinsale Manor, pleaded guilty to having cocaine for sale or supply on June 16, 2021, at New Road, Kinsale, Co Cork. Picture: Larry Cummins

A former player for Cork City Football Club has been remanded in custody for one week as the judge considers sentencing in his case for cocaine dealing in Kinsale.

Elyjas Eshaji, 19, of Jamesfort Avenue, Kinsale Manor, came before Cork Circuit Criminal Court for sentencing.

Judge Sarah Berkely said after hearing evidence in the case: “I am struggling to know what to do with him. I am going to remand him in custody until Friday July 1.” 

She added: “It will give him a taste of prison life. Maybe that will cause him to swallow hard and think about what he is doing.” 

During the course of the sentencing hearing, Ray Boland, defence senior counsel, said: “He has represented Cork City FC. He is no longer playing for them.” 

Mr Boland said the teenager’s drug use affected his sporting career.

“He has a girlfriend with whom he is expecting a child. He is not working at present. He trained and worked as a barber,” Mr Boland said.

Judge Berkeley said if the young man was fit and able to work as a barber why was he not working in this area where employment is available. “He has not got a job and he is expecting a child,” the judge said.

Mr Boland SC said there needed to be a maturing by the accused young man.

Judge Berkeley agreed and said: “He seems to me to have approached his case in a very immature way. He has a lot more to do.

“I don’t think this is a case where he is going to avoid custody but putting a young man like him in custody won’t help him. But how can he avoid going into custody?” 

Mr Boland said: “I am asking you to give him a chance to show some maturity and to disengage from the peers with whom he has been associating.” 

One of the difficulties for the defendant was that he had come to notice of gardaí while this case was pending.

Eshaji admitted having cocaine for sale or supply in Kinsale last year.

He pleaded guilty to having cocaine for sale or supply on June 16, 2021, at New Road, Kinsale, Co Cork, at a time when its street value exceeded €13,000 — the threshold figure for a mandatory jail term of 10 years unless the judge finds there are exceptional circumstances.

Earlier this year, Mr Boland said: “He had a difficult with substance abuse and he is going to Coolmine once a week for counselling.”

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