A Kerry senior footballer and a teammate have been convicted and fined after pleading guilty to assaulting a man in Killarney.
23-year-old Ronan Buckley, who made his debut as a Kerry senior footballer last year, of Lahard, Beaufort and his East Kerry teammate, 22-year-old Christopher O’Donoghue of Inch, Clonkeen, Killarney appeared in Killarney District Court this afternoon.
They admitted to assaulting Dan McCarthy causing him harm at Church Lane by the Ross Hotel in Killarney on October 22nd 2018.
Killarney District Court heard Ronan Buckley, Christopher O’Donoghue and a third man, who wasn’t before the court, were on a night out drinking after playing a football match.
Inspector Gary Thompson said the victim and his friend were walking down the lane when they encountered the group; he said the third man engaged in tomfoolery, the victim's friend’s takeaway was knocked from his hand and an argument ensued.
Mr McCarthy, who came to the help of his friend, suffered a barrage of punches to his face from the accused men with a closed fist punch to the face from Christopher O’Donoghue doing the most damage.
The third man, who was dealt with at Garda level, tried unsuccessfully to break up the incident.
In his victim impact statement, which he read to the court, Dan McCarthy said he couldn’t even begin to describe the emotions of terror and helplessness he felt when they rained blow after blow on his face.
He said he still remembers the look of emptiness in the accused men’s eyes.
He suffered a broken nose, big burst fat lip and facial swelling and needs an operation to fix the damage to his nose.
Mr McCarthy said what hurt him more than the blows inflicted on him was that his children wouldn’t come near him when they saw his face; they could hardly recognise him and called him a monster.
He said he gets taunted and people make remarks or comments about ruining the three men’s lives.
Mr McCarthy said: I know they are all well-known footballers but I am someone too.
Solicitor Padraig O’Connell said his clients are students undertaking Masters this year, have no previous convictions, apologised unequivocally and had brought €5,000 to court as compensation.
He implored the judge not to impose a conviction and said they were responsible young men in the community and were role models.
However, Judge David Waters, who viewed CCTV of the assault, said the men were neither on the night in question.
The judge said Mr McCarthy and his friend were in no way to blame for instigating the incident.
He said he wouldn’t consider a custodial sentence but it wasn’t appropriate not to leave the accused men without a conviction.
He noted the significant amount of compensation but said this can’t be viewed as an open chequebook to buy your way out of a conviction.
Judge Waters convicted and fined Ronan Buckley and Christopher O’Donoghue €400 each.