Belfast Telegraph

McGrath 'ashamed' over behaviour

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

The troubled ex-soccer star said he cannot remember the incident during which he was arrested, just over two weeks ago, after a drinking binge at a hotel in Tullamore, Co Offaly in the Irish Republic.

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

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

The judge asked the troubled ex-soccer star if he would coach local children in order to escape prosecution.

Dressed in a black suit, black open necked shirt and brown shoes, McGrath stood up in the hot, packed Midlands courtroom as some of his fans watched and replied: "Yeah, I'll do it. No problem."

Solicitor Donal Farrelly told Tullamore District Court that McGrath, 53, suffers a debilitating disorder, whereby he suffers acute anxiety during social occasions.

Mr Farrelly said McGrath, a separated father of six children who is also a national newspaper columnist, could not remember his drunken outburst and was extremely ashamed of himself.

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

Ordering the former footballer to return and give a full day's coaching to children of different age groups at Tullamore Town Soccer Club, Judge Mitchell said he would give him an unconditional discharge under the Probation of Offenders Act, providing McGrath stayed out of trouble.


From Belfast Telegraph