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GAA and porn star Cathal McCarron was arrested after pub row, court hears

Cathal McCarron
Cathal McCarron

TYRONE Gaelic football star Cathal McCarron had to be restrained after getting into a row with staff at a Temple Bar pub, a court has heard.

The 2008 All-Ireland winner, who hit the headlines over a gay porn video and his chronic gambling addiction, appeared at Dublin District Court on Monday.

He pleaded guilty to engaging in threatening, insulting and abusive behaviour at Anglesea Street in Dublin city-centre on May 12 last. The public order offence can result in a conviction, fine and a three-month sentence.

The court heard an irate McCarron had to be restrained by security staff before he was put of the Auld Dubliner pub and he then became aggressive to gardai  called to deal with the situation.

However, adjourning the case for a week, Judge Michael Walsh said he would be spared a criminal record if he donated €500 to a homeless charity.

Garda Sergeant Gail Smith told  Judge Walsh that gardai responded to a public order incident at the Auld Dublin pub where McCarron was being “restrained by security staff”.

The court was told gardai separated him from the pub security to ask him what happened and he became aggressive to them.

Gda Sgt Smith said to Gaelic games star was directed on numerous occasions to calm down but when he threw his top on the ground gardai arrested him.

The court heard he had no prior criminal convictions and has not come to Garda attention since.

Dressed in a grey suit, white open neck shirt and brown shoes, the Dromore and Tyrone corner-back did not address the court. However, his solicitor Peter Connolly handed in to court a letter from him in which he apologised to gardai. He said his client is now studying psycho-therapy part-time while continuing to work as a business development officer in a successful firm.

The court heard the 28-year-old, from Tummery Road, Dromore, Omagh, who also has three Ulster title medals, has been nominated for the 2016 All-Star football awards.

Mr Connolly said the footballer is very embarrassed and regrets the incident. He only drinks alcohol three or four times a year, the solicitor said. He said his client was out with a friend after they completed an exam however when bar staff refused them service McCarron began to remonstrate.

He was restrained with his hand behind his back and became “irate”, Mr Connolly said.

The judge was asked to noted McCarron has had a number of well documented difficulties in his personal and professional life.

Pleading for leniency, Mr Connolly described the Temple Bar incident as the “last speed bump in his situation” and he added that his client has received support from his family and the GAA. He also asked the court to note that the footballer was recovering from a serious gambling addiction.

The solicitor added that McCarron is in a relationship and his partner is expecting a child. He is focussed on sport, work and his family, Mr Connolly said.

Judge Walsh said he noted he pleaded guilty, his genuine remorse and that he was under certain emotional stress which may have been a factor.

He said McCarron was a distinguished member of his team and he had watched him over the years playing in an exemplary manner for Tyrone.

The judge also said the footballer would not be likely to re-offend.

He said he would spare him a criminal conviction if he donated €500 to the Capuchin Day Centre for homeless people. He will be excused from attending the next hearing if the money has been handed over by then.

The footballer, who helped his county win this year's Ulster Championship, has an autobiography out later this week.

Titled Out of Control - How My Addiction Almost Killed Me, the book is co-written with journalist Christy O'Connor and is due to be released on Thursday.

It tells the story of his football success but also delves into his other personal issues including his chronic gambling problems, his move to London and taking part in a hardcore gay porn film before returning home to Tyrone to play for his county again.

The back page blurb states: “McCarron is a 28-year-old inter-county footballer from Tyrone.

A winner of one All-Ireland senior medal and three Ulster titles, he was nominated for an All-Star in 2013 and 2015. Yet behind all that success lay an extremely dark secret, a gambling addiction that cost him hundreds of thousands of pounds, endless relationships and, almost, his life.

The illness took such a grip on McCarron that he was forced to leave the country but the addiction led him down an even darker path and into a world of total depravity where he was willing to do anything for money. Out of Control is a sports story unlike any other, a tale of success, lies, deceit, theft, recovery, rehabilitation and, ultimately, redemption.”