Two Derry GAA players who let off a little too much steam in a popular city centre pub following a Celebrity Bainisteoir match, managing to get arrested along with four other team mates, were given the benefit of the Probation Act after paying €300 each to the court poor box.
The team were managed for the TV programme by Majella O’Donnell, wife of country and western singer Daniel O’Donnell.
Kieran Donnelly (27 ) with an address at 50A Letteran Road, Moneymore, Magherafelt and Michael McIvor (26 ) with an address at 31 Letteran, Cookstown, appeared with heads held low at Galway District Court this week where they pleaded guilty to threatening and abusive behaviour on October 23, 2011.
Inspector Ernie White told the court that at 12.15am Donnelly had been in the Quays pub with a number of friends when a row erupted. He had to be physically restrained by security, and when the gardai arrived it was necessary to arrest him.
In relation to McIvor, Inspector White said that after a number of people had been ejected from the Quays pub six were arrested and were being escorted down the street when the defendant interfered. The court heard that McIvor had been very abusive, refused to leave when directed to do so, and continued to be abusive to the gardai who eventually arrested him. The inspector added that neither defendant had previous convictions.
Defence solicitor Colin Lynch said that his clients are both GAA players with St Michael’s club in Lissane which had earlier that day played and lost against Oughterard, a match which was part of the the Celebrity Bainisteoir TV series. The players had been brought out for dinner and drinks that night, however, Mr Lynch said that “things got out of hand” after too much alcohol was consumed and one of the players was asked to leave the premises.
“They all took umbrage to that,” noted Judge Mary Fahy.
Mr Lynch said that Donnelly, an engineer by trade, and McIvor, a self-employed bricklayer, are hardworking men who have been involved in sports all their lives. He added that the incident has been a “costly experience for them” as it has resulted in “disgrace in the community” because of the nuisance they made of themselves.
“Thankfully there was no assault, they had too much alcohol. They are from outside the jurisdiction and to be fair they came to court to face the charges. I am prepared to deal with it with no conviction if they are prepared to give money, on the basis that I don’t expect them before the courts again. They look suitably remorseful looking,” said Judge Fahy, who ordered them to pay €300 each to the court poor box before applying the benefits of the Probation Act Section 1(1 ).