Dublin footballer Diarmuid Connolly to be sentenced for assault

Player admitted breaking man’s eye socket during unprovoked attack in pub

Diarmuid Connolly arrives at Dublin District Court today. Photograph: Collins Courts

Diarmuid Connolly arrives at Dublin District Court today. Photograph: Collins Courts


Dublin football star Diarmuid Connolly is to be sentenced next month for breaking a man’s eye socket during an unprovoked attack in a pub last August.

The 25-year-old, who is on bail, had pleaded guilty earlier to assault causing harm to Anthony Kelly at McGowan’s public house in Phibsboro, in Dublin, in the early hours of August 6th, 2012.

At Dublin District Court today, Judge Ann Ryan deferred sentencing him to allow the case to be listed before Judge Patrick Clyne who had heard the prosecution’s evidence in the case last month.

Mr Connolly, who was was wearing a black coat, scarf and a grey suit, did not address the court during the brief hearing this morning and was ordered to appear again on May 31st next.

The attack happened less than two days after Dublin defeated Laois in a quarter-final of the All Ireland Senior Football Championship.

Connolly had once been tipped as a frontrunner to take over as Dublin team captain for the 2013 season. The footballer, 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 jail and/or a fine.

The Director of Public Prosecutions had decided that the case should be dealt with summarily, in the district court, on a guilty plea only. Otherwise it would have to be referred to the Circuit Court, which has tougher sentencing powers.

Last month, the Dublin player’s solicitor Michael Hanahoe had told Judge Patrick Clyne that on his client’s behalf, “I am entering a guilty plea”.

In an outline of the prosecution’s evidence, 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,” the court heard.

Connolly, who has an address at Collins Park, Beaumont, north Dublin, “punched him in the face”. Mr Kelly, who is in his 30s, was knocked down and Connolly then “continued to punch him on the ground”.

Mr Kelly suffered facial injuries including a fractured eye socket during the attack, but has recovered, the court heard.