Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill pleads guilty to drink-driving

Judge in Edinburgh: ‘This was simply a bad error of judgement on the part of Mr O’Neill’

Northern Ireland coach Michael O’Neill at the World Cup playoff draw in Zurich. Photograph: Getty Images

Northern Ireland coach Michael O’Neill at the World Cup playoff draw in Zurich. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill has pleaded guilty to drink-driving.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard he was caught by police on the outskirts of the city at about 1am on September 10th and was around three times the legal drink-drive limit.

Sheriff Thomas Welsh QC banned O’Neill from driving for 16 months and fined him £1,300.

Prosecutor Chloe Shoniwa told the court that police officers had “reason to stop” O’Neill as he drove on the Edinburgh city bypass between Lothianburn and Straiton.

They breathalysed him and he was found to have a breath alcohol level of 65mcg compared to the legal limit of 22mcg.

Solicitor James Mulgrew, representing O’Neill, told the court: “This was simply a bad error of judgement on the part of Mr O’Neill.”

Having led the Northern Irish to the Euro 2016 knock-out stages, O’Neill’s team are within touching distance of making back-to-back major tournaments for the first time in the country’s history.

Northern Ireland play Switzerland next month in their two-legged playoff for the 2018 World Cup in Russia - a tournament they last reached in 1986 - after finishing second in their group behind Germany. The manager signed a new four-year contract in March last year.

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