first_imgA young GAA player, who drank all day to build up the courage to dress up for a club fundraiser, has been jailed after attacking another man.Victim Jamie O’Brien lost the sight in one eye after being struck with one punch by Noel Kelly.Kelly, 23, had been drinking all day with his team-mates from Gaoth Dobhair GAA team. The men had gone to Dodge Nightclub in Gaoth Dobhair on July 24th, 2011 but Kelly had been ejected from the premises for horseplay.Outside the premises he had words with Jamie O’Brien and ended up striking the then 20 year old once.Other people tried to intervene and Kelly ended up punching two other women Natalie McGee and Nicola McFadden.He was told to leave the area by bouncers from the nightclub but returned minutes later and ended up striking another man, Peader Woods, who was operating a chip van.Mr Woods’ brother Joe, who had taken the previous three victims to see a local doctor, returned and he was also assaulted by Kelly.Letterkenny Circuit Court heard that Kelly of Meenaniller, Derrybeg, who pleaded guilty to five separate assault charges, was an excellent footballer and had played at Under 16 level for Donegal and plays senior football with Gaoth Dobhair.Among the references in court for Kelly was one from his own club and from the management team of the Donegal senior football team.The accused man’s father, Declan Kelly, said his family were shocked by his only son’s actions.Noel Kelly told the court that he “messed up” and said he would like to genuinely apologise to Mr O’Brien.“I am sincerely sorry. I messed up that night and I’m ashamed of what I did. I drank too much and got myself into a shape that I should not have. I regret what happened.“I have not drank since and I have no plans to socialise,” he said.Kelly’s barrister Peter Nolan said his client had been drinking all day.“He had been drinking all day in a bid to build up the courage to dress in a wig and a dress.“It was fundraiser and he needed a bit of Dutch courage, if you like, to go out on stage in drag,” he saidThe court also heard that Mr O’Brien’s medical bills so far were in the region of €15,000 which the Kelly family had offered to cover.Judge O’Hagan recommended that €5,000 be paid to the O’Brien family but said he did not see it as compensation but as costs towards their medical bill.The accused father said his son was working five days a week at his business and three days of this pay was going towards paying off the €15,000In a hard-hitting address to the court, Judge John O’Hagan slammed the culture of drinking and fighting in Donegal.“What are we going to do in our society – flutered drunk and beating the lard out of eachother. What are we going to do?“I get it all the time. I dealt with 11 or 12 sentences this week and every single one have drink. It’s very sad that our society is going down this road,” he said.Judge O’Hagan said he had no question that Kelly came from a very respectable family and he thanked Mr Kelly Snr for apologizing to the O’Brien family.However, he said the matter was too serious not to impose a custodial sentence.“I shudder to think how much you paid for the drink. You would have been better giving it to the GAA donation box,” he told Kelly.He sentenced Kelly to two years imprisonment for the Section 4 assault on Mr O’Brien and suspended the last six months of the sentence.He also sentenced him to one year in prison for each of the Section 3 assaults while the two Section 2 assaults were taken into consideration with all sentences to run concurrently.Members of Kelly’s family including his mother and sister wept in court as he was led away in handcuffs.GAA PLAYER JAILED AFTER VICIOUS ATTACK LEFT MAN WITH LOSS OF SIGHT IN EYE was last modified: February 2nd, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:attackdodge nightclubJamie O’BrienJUdge John O’HaganNoel Kellylast_img

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