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last chance Blind drug dealer says he'll 'play for Ireland again' after dodging jail for third time

Ireland blind soccer player pleaded guilty to selling weed to his friends from his own property


Brian Devanney, blind Co. Clare man who pleaded guilty to possession of 4,600 euro worth of cannabis with intent to supply.

Brian Devanney, blind Co. Clare man who pleaded guilty to possession of 4,600 euro worth of cannabis with intent to supply.

Brian Devanney, blind Co. Clare man who pleaded guilty to possession of 4,600 euro worth of cannabis with intent to supply.

MEET the blind drug dealer who hopes to play football for Ireland again - after dodging jail for the third time.

Brian Devanney (29), who formerly represented Ireland's blind soccer team, insisted to the Sunday World that his drug-dealing days are behind him - a week after being given 'one last reprieve' by Judge Mary Larkin at Ennis District Court.

Devanney, who lost his sight in both eyes as a result of a car accident, told us: "Once I get the surgery done on my eyes I'll be back playing football again.

"I'm waiting on the surgery because they won't do it over Covid.

"And there's a long waiting list now - but I'll be back then, so I will."

Asked whether he was done with drugs after his latest brush with the law, Devanney responded: "Oh yeah, I'm gone from that scene now."

At Ennis District Court last week, Judge Mary Larkin imposed a suspended three-month prison term on Devanney after he pleaded guilty to the sale and supply of cannabis with a street value of €4,600 from his home at Cappagh, Sixmilebridge, on December 9, 2019.

The court was told that Devanney was selling the drugs to some of his friends.

Judge Larkin said: "That is my problem. You can't sell to friends - you can't sell to anyone and convince me you are not in the racket of sale and supply.

She added: "That is why the drug lords do so well, because they can rely on people like Mr Devanney, people down the chain to keep on flogging the stuff."

Judge Larkin stated that "the sale and supply of that amount of drugs warrants jail or community service but Mr Devanney is not suitable for community service".

Sgt Aiden Lonergan said Devanney has two previous drug convictions.

Defence solicitor, Stiofan Fitzpatrick, said Devanney is someone who had no social outlet and he was literally spending his days sitting at home in a property buying in larger quantities because he was not in a position to travel around.

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He added that his client now rents out his home and instead lives with a sister who has her own children "and won't tolerate any behaviour of this nature".

Mr Devanney "knows that his cards are marked and knows it is not acceptable", he said.

Judge Larkin imposed a fine of €400 on Devanney for a separate charge for the possession of cannabis.

Imposing the suspended prison term, Judge Larkin stated that "this is Mr Devanney's last reprieve". She said: "He will go to jail the next time - this is his third conviction."

Devanney had previously appeared in court on the same charge last May.

On that occasion, solicitor Mr Fitz­patrick said De­van­ney was not ac­tively drug deal­ing.

He told the court peo­ple knew that De­van­ney's home at Cap­pagh, Sixmile­bridge, "was a place you could get some cannabis".

Mr Fitz­patrick said De­van­ney lost the sight of both of his eyes in "a very bad" 2007 road crash when he was pas­sen­ger in a vehicle.

He bought his home from the com­pen­sa­tion.

Mr Fitz­patrick stated that De­van­ney bought cannabis in bulk to "help him get through the day and help with the pain".

He added that his so-called friends knew he had drugs and would share them.

He told the court De­van­ney's sister Chloe Devanney wasn't sell­ing drugs but pleaded guilty as she was her brother's eyes for his phone.

"They were wrong but not ac­tively drug deal­ing," he said.

Mr Fitz­patrick said that rep­re­sent­ing Ire­land in the coun­try's blind soc­cer team is some­thing that keeps Brian go­ing.

According to the FAI's website, there are opportunities for both partially sighted players and fully blind players to play football for their country.

The partially sighted footballers play indoors and there are minimal differences in the rules from those that apply to the standard game of Futsal (five-a-side football).

This game is played using a normal indoor Futsal ball, with high visibility being an option when available.

There are two partially sighted groups training in Ireland - one for children and another for adults. Currently, both are based in Dublin but there are plans to grow a team in Cork in the near future. Football for the fully blind is played outdoors on an artificial pitch with low level boards forming walls along the side of the pitch.

All players wear black-out goggles or blindfolds so that all are equally 'blind' during play. Sighted assistants call instructions from behind the goals.

The ball contains ball bearings and therefore emits a sound as it moves about the pitch. In both cases the teams play with a sighted goalkeeper.

There are two groups training in Ireland, one in Dublin and another in Cork, and both are for children and adults of all ages.

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