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Sin bin All-Ireland winning club footballer who planned ATM raids jailed for 10 years

He is the fifth and final member of the criminal organisation to be jailed with prison sentences totalling over 32 years given to the ATM theft gang.

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Daniel O'Callaghan

Daniel O'Callaghan

Daniel O'Callaghan

An All-Ireland winning club footballer who planned rural ATM raids for a "well-oiled" crime group has been jailed for 10 years.

Daniel O'Callaghan (32) was a central member of the gang that stole almost €800,000 in a five-month period between 2018 and 2019.

The criminal network had targeted five cash machines but were finally caught during a garda surveillance operation in Cavan.

He is the fifth and final member of the criminal organisation to be jailed with prison sentences totalling over 32 years given to the ATM theft gang.

The Special Criminal Court today described the crimes as "audacious and meticulous" which involved the same modus operandi and resulted in "eye-watering sums" being stolen.

Ms Justice Tara Burns said that O'Callaghan, of Monog Road in Crossmaglen, Armagh, was a "planner" and played a "central role" in the raids.

This, she said, was evident in the fact that he was in a stolen land cruiser at the scene of the attempted theft in Virginia, Cavan, on August 14, 2019.

The judge added that he had control of more than €400,000 which was seized from the gang's operation centre in Tullypole, Meath, in the days after the failed raid.

The accused was identified by surveillance officers and managed to flee the scene but was later arrested.

The judge said he was caught "red-handed" but denied the charges and went on trial.

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Daniel O'Callaghan of Monog Road, Crossmaglen, Co. Armagh pictured at the Criminal Courts of Justice (CCJ) on Parkgate Street in Dublin for a court appearance. Photo: Paddy Cummins/IrishPhotoDesk.ie

Daniel O'Callaghan of Monog Road, Crossmaglen, Co. Armagh pictured at the Criminal Courts of Justice (CCJ) on Parkgate Street in Dublin for a court appearance. Photo: Paddy Cummins/IrishPhotoDesk.ie

Daniel O'Callaghan of Monog Road, Crossmaglen, Co. Armagh pictured at the Criminal Courts of Justice (CCJ) on Parkgate Street in Dublin for a court appearance. Photo: Paddy Cummins/IrishPhotoDesk.ie

In January, the non-jury court convicted O'Callaghan of 16 offences including theft, criminal damage, and money laundering.

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The former GAA star was also found guilty of the theft of an ATM in Castleblayney, Monaghan, in April 2019.

He was this morning handed down concurrent jail terms, the most serious of which were for involvement in a criminal gang for which he received a 10-year sentence.

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Daniel O'Callaghan of Monog Road, Crossmaglen, Co. Armagh pictured at the Criminal Courts of Justice (CCJ) on Parkgate Street in Dublin for a court appearance. Photo: Paddy Cummins/IrishPhotoDesk.ie

Daniel O'Callaghan of Monog Road, Crossmaglen, Co. Armagh pictured at the Criminal Courts of Justice (CCJ) on Parkgate Street in Dublin for a court appearance. Photo: Paddy Cummins/IrishPhotoDesk.ie

Daniel O'Callaghan of Monog Road, Crossmaglen, Co. Armagh pictured at the Criminal Courts of Justice (CCJ) on Parkgate Street in Dublin for a court appearance. Photo: Paddy Cummins/IrishPhotoDesk.ie

The court remarked that the crimes caused destruction and inconvenienced rural communities, and that this would have a significant impact.

Testimonies on behalf of the accused were also handed in the previous day which Ms Justice Burns said "speak highly" of him.

The judge noted that Daniel O'Callaghan, who won All-Ireland football titles with Crossmaglen Rangers, had a very successful GAA career but had not continued with any community involvement.

The sentence was backdated to January 18 last when O'Callaghan first went into custody.

Last week brothers Stephen, Gerard, and Ciaran Duffy were jailed for their key roles with the ATM theft gang.

Stephen Duffy (35), of Tullynahinera in Castleblayney was sentenced to four years imprisonment for possessing stolen cash at The Yard in Tullypole, Moynalty, Co Meath.

Gerard Duffy (31), of Loughnamore in Monaghan, was jailed for a total of seven years and nine months for the attempted theft of an ATM at the Riverfront Restaurant on the Main Street in Virginia, Co Cavan.

The court said that he played an important and direct role in the crime and rejected his claims that he was simply a lookout for the attempted theft.

The youngest sibling Ciaran (28), also of Loughnamore in Monaghan, was given a total of seven years and nine months imprisonment for the attempted bank machine theft and participating in the movement in cash on behalf of a criminal organisation.

A fifth gang member, GAA referee Niall Finnegan (39) from Armagh, was previously jailed for three years for handling the gang's stolen cash. The gang targeted bank machines in Ballybay and Castleblayney in Monaghan, Kingscourt in Cavan, and two ATMS on the same night in Kellls, Co Meath.

The crimes were carried out between December 2018 and April 2019 prior to the botched Virginia robbery that August.

A total of 31 ATM thefts had been carried out on both sides of the Border in the first eight months of 2019 and gardaí suspected that at least two other crime groups were involved in the organised raids.

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