Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Former Republic of Ireland international Paul McGrath's shame over drunken escapade

Paul McGrath
Paul McGrath

Former Republic of Ireland international Paul McGrath has admitted he is extremely ashamed of himself after admitting public order offences during a drunken outburst at a family wedding.

The troubled ex-soccer star (53) said he cannot remember the incident just over two weeks ago, after a drinking binge at a hotel in Tullamore, Co Offaly.

Garda inspector John Lawless said McGrath was drunk, acting in a disturbed manner and attempting to get into two parked cars at Tullamore Court Hotel when staff called police on June 29.

Judge Alan Mitchell said he was taking into consideration the fact that the former Manchester United and Aston Villa defender is a "national hero" and "one of the greatest soccer players in Ireland".

He asked the troubled star if he would coach local children in order to escape prosecution.

McGrath stood up in the hot, packed courtroom and replied: "Yeah, I'll do it. No problem."

Solicitor Donal Farrelly told Tullamore District Court that McGrath has a debilitating disorder, whereby he suffers acute anxiety during social occasions.

To deal with the affliction, he usually avoids such events or is chaperoned by his agent or friend. But his agent could not make the wedding and "left to his own devices" had a couple of drinks, and continued to drink all day Friday and into Saturday.

Judge Mitchell, who revealed himself as a Leeds United fan, said he took into consideration McGrath's forthright apology to the Garda and hotel staff, as well as an "impressive" letter from his doctor.

He also noted McGrath's charity work for cystic fibrosis and acquired brain injury groups.

Ordering him to give a day's coaching to children at Tullamore Town Soccer Club, he granted an unconditional discharge, providing McGrath stays out of trouble.

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