Man taunted after being assaulted by ‘well-known’ GAA players

Judge hands Ronan Buckley (23) and Christopher O’Donoghue (22) assault convictions


A 40-year-old who was assaulted by two “well-known” GAA players during a night out in Co Kerry has told a court that he has regularly faced taunts about ruining the men’s lives since the incident happened 2½ years ago.

Ronan Buckley (23), of Lahard, Beaufort, Killarney, and Christopher O’Donoghue (22), of Inch*, Clonkeen, Killarney, entered guilty pleas at Killarney District Court to charges of assaulting Dan McCarthy at Church Lane in the town on October 22nd, 2018.

Judge David Waters said Mr McCarthy and those with him were “in no way to blame” for what had happened.

Insp Gearóid Thompson said Mr McCarthy had been socialising with friends and was walking down the lane when they encountered the two accused and another man, whose “tomfoolery” had sparked the incident.

The court heard verbals were exchanged and a bag of takeaway food was knocked out of the hands of an elderly friend of Mr McCarthy’s. A fracas happened after that and Mr McCarthy received punches to the face.

‘Blow after blow’

In his victim impact statement, Mr McCarthy said he was subjected to “blow after blow” after merely trying to help an elderly friend.

He recalled “the look of emptiness in their eyes” as he was beaten and said his young daughters would not come near him when they saw his face afterwards.

“They could hardly recognise me and called me a monster because of my broken nose, a big burst fat lip and swelling on my face. That hurt me more than the blows that were inflicted upon me,” he said.

He said he was suffered ongoing problems with his nose and was facing “a very painful operation” .

Mr McCarthy, who is from Killarney, also told of feeling under pressure because his aggressors were “well-known footballers”.

“Every time I’m out I get taunted. People would say sly remarks or comment about ruining the three men’s lives and how could I live with myself,” he said.

Role models

Defence solicitor Padraig O’Connell said his clients had no previous convictions, were role models for young people and had owned up to what they did on the night. He said his clients had come to court with €5,000 between them as compensation.

“It doesn’t matter who they are. If it is appropriate they will get a conviction, they will get a sentence,” the judge said, adding that the men certainly did not act like role models at the time.

Mr O’Connell said Mr Buckley’s “teaching career is in jeopardy” as a conviction would stay with the young men, who had learned a lesson.

The judge refused to apply the Probation Act after viewing CCTV footage of the incident. He said “these two chose to behave as they did on the night” as he convicted the two men, fined them €400 each and fixed recognisances in the event of an appeal.

*This article was amended on June 22nd, 2021