Compo rescues rugby racists from jail

Three men who beat up an Englishman on St Patrick’s Day because he kissed the rose on his shirt after England defeated Ireland in the rugby will all avoid a conviction if they can each provide €1,000 in compensation.

At one stage during the case, which he described as having “racist type undertones”, Judge Seamus Hughes had to caution the defendants for “smirking” through the evidence.

Before him were Kevin Smollen (29 ), Main Street, Ferbane; Adrian Lynam (39 ) Lemonaghan, Ballycumber; and Gerard Dunican (29 ) from Moyclare, Belmont, all Co Offaly, who were all pleading to the assault.

Earlier Inspector Aidan Minnock told how the three had threatened the injured party in Hennessy’s pub in Ferbane after the match was over, and followed him out of the pub after midnight before assaulting him on the street.

The court heard that though Matthew Ball from Kent in England was hospitalised after suffering bruising to his face and body, he was discharged the next day and has since made a full recovery.

Mr Ball, whose girlfriend is from Ferbane, told how: “They were giving me grief during the match, said they were going to give me a kicking”.

“I apologised, told them I didn’t intend any offence, but they carried on having a go at me,” he added.

“These three bucks from Ballycumber... I can imagine how much of an irritant they were to you,” said the judge

“Did they kick you on the ground?” asked Judge Hughes, and Mr Ball said they did.

“My client [Lynam] will take issue with all of the facts in this case. It doesn’t excuse, condone, or justify his behaviour, but he believes there was an element of provocation,” said Mr Padraig Quinn.

He also pointed out that without CCTV evidence, the State would have had some difficulty in making this case without the candour of the three defendants, and Inspector Minnock agreed.

Mr Tony McLynn for Smollen described the actions of his client as “a deluded sense of patriotism, fuelled by an awful lot of drink”.

“The troubling element in this case was when he was giving evidence those three were grinning and smirking, showing an arrogant attitude,” said the judge.

“These people give a good beating to a Brit. And the British not welcome in Ireland? That day is long gone,” he added.

“On St Patrick’s Day you’ll see pictures in the papers of the Irish in Sydney or New Zealand proudly wearing their jerseys. You’re entitled to be a proud Englishman in this country,” said the judge to Mr Ball.

Through their solicitors, each defendant offered €1,000 in compensation, which the judge said he would “most reluctantly accept”.

Lynam and Dunican were given until December 12 to come up with this, while Smollen was given until March 27.

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