One-legged cocaine dealer is "a good lad"

Diarmuid Devanney
Diarmuid Devanney

The captain of an amputee soccer team has defended his former team-mate and one-legged cocaine dealer, saying: “He’s a good lad”.

Convicted drug dealer Diarmuid Devanney (26), is one of the biggest players in the trade and is considered to be a heavyweight in the south Clare area.

Devanney pleaded guilty to dealing cocaine and cannabis at his home in Cluain Droichid, Sixmilebridge, Clare, on November 12, 2013.

And it wasn’t just a small stash of drugs Devanney was dealing with.

The drugs had a combined worth of €15,125 – with the cocaine estimated to be worth €10,222 street value. 

Away from the illegal drug trade, Devanney impressed his team-mates and participated in soccer and athletics. 

He was a shining star on the pitch when he played with the Irish Amputee Football Association (IAFA) ,before he “drifted” away from the game. 

The IAFA captain, Simon Baker, told the Sunday World that Devanney was “a good lad” and “focused” when he played for his side. 

Simon Baker (red) and Diarmuid Devanney

“I was shocked when I heard how far he had gone. The Devanney I knew was a good lad, had no problems, always very committed and always willing to help,” Mr Baker said. 

“He attended training, he was a good member of the team. He was always there to help anybody else.

“Any fundraising we did he was behind us and went above and beyond the call of duty. Obviously he just went down a dark corner.

“Being an amputee myself, it’s not an easy road. Some people deal with it in different ways,” he added. 

Mr Baker confirmed to the Sunday World that Devanney has approached the team looking to get back involved. However, the coach said the committee would have to make the decision whether or not Devanney should be brought back into the team. 

He said: “He’s looking to get back involved with us. 

“As long as Devanney proves clean and if the courts are willing to get him a chance – who are we to say we can’t give him a chance?

“I think he’s hit rock bottom and now he’s turned his life around. 

“He would be drug tested and monitored.” 

The founder of the IAFA said the association has a governing body and abides by international standards.

Mr Baker said that players involved in the association are tested for drugs under strict conditions.

“We can safely say that Diarmuid Devanney wasn’t using [drugs] when he was with us.

“I worked hard to get this federation going and we got the respect that we are an establishment.

“He was involved with us before the incident happened. This can be damaging towards us. We are a small organisation,” Mr Baker added. 

A detective garda told a court earlier this week that Devanney is at “huge risk” of re-offending.

Sergeant Kevin O’Hagan said he based his assessment on Devanney’s “cohorts, the way he conducts himself and his involvement in the drugs world”. 

The detective added he has been investigating crime in the area for five years and Devanney has “been involved in numerous investigations”. 

Judge Gerald Keys remanded Devanney on bail and adjourned sentencing for six months and ordered that he must take a weekly drug test.

By Martin Grant