Judge orders Dublin footballer to attend anger-management course

Dublin football star Diarmuid Connolly has been ordered to complete an anger-management course before he is sentenced for an unprovoked attack on a man in a pub.

Judge orders Dublin footballer to attend anger-management course

Dublin football star Diarmuid Connolly has been ordered to complete an anger-management course before he is sentenced for an unprovoked attack on a man in a pub.

Connolly (aged 25) 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 August 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 following that hearing but had refused to accept compensation from him. Instead the footballer paid €5,000 to Barnardos children's charity and the Rape Crisis Centre.

Today, the case continued and 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 also said the offence carried a possible prison sentence, and he told defence 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 Senior Football Championship

Connolly, who also plays for north Dublin club St Vincent's, has no prior criminal convictions, and his offence carries a possible sentence of up to one year.

In an outline of the prosecution's evidence given earlier, the court had been told that the attack happened at 3.40am in McGowan's pub.

“It is alleged that the injured party was socialising with a friend, it would be alleged that the accused assaulted him in an unprovoked attack,” Judge Clyne has heard.

Connolly, who has an address at Collins Park, Beaumont, north Dublin, “punched him in the face”. Mr Kelly, who is in his thirties, was knocked down and Connolly then “continued to punch him on the ground”.

Mr Kelly suffered a fractured eye socket during the attack, but he has recovered, the district court has heard.

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