Third man pleads guilty for role in terrifying chase through a school

Two men chased across school playground hid in classroom with pupils and teacher

The court was told that three men had a machete, slash hook and hockey stick

The court was told that three men had a machete, slash hook and hockey stick


A man has pleaded guilty to his role in a school-yard feud in Co Clare that had children and teachers running for cover.

Thomas Molloy (23) of Park Avenue, Ennis, pleaded guilty at Ennis Circuit Court to possessing an instrument capable of inflicting serious injury, a hockey stick, at lunchtime at the Holy Family School on March 20th 2012.

Two others, including a teenager, have already pleaded guilty to committing violent disorder at the school on the date. In the incident, a 13-year-old and Conor Mahon (22) of Ballaghboy halting site, Quin Road, Ennis, ran through the primary school armed with a machete and a slash hook.

Counsel for the two deny their clients possessed those weapons.

In court on Tuesday, Mr Molloy first pleaded not-guilty to committing violent disorder on the date before a jury panel. However, when the trial was due to start, the jury was discharged by Judge Tom O’Donnell after Mr Molloy pleaded guilty to the lesser weapon charge.

Mr Molloy’s role in the incident has yet to be described in court. Outlining the facts in relation to his co-accused at an earlier sentencing hearing, Garda Trevor Shannon said that Mr Mahon and the 13-year-old gave chase, wielding the weapons across the school yard, to Darren and Michael Maughan.

Garda Shannon said that two Maughans barricaded themselves into a classroom “that was full of children with a teacher present”.

He said that Michael Maughan said he could hear threats uttered from outside the classroom: “You are dead. We are going to kill you.”

The Garda said that Darren Maughan “was afraid for his life and thought he was going to be killed”.

Garda Shannon said the disturbance arose from an earlier verbal altercation at the school as parents collected their children at 1.45pm. He said there was a dispute between the Maughan family and another family at the time.

Judge O’Donnell directed that an updated probation report be prepared for Mr Molloy and remanded him on bail to appear on April 21st.