Northern Ireland news

Tyrone U21 footballer avoids conviction for being drunk

Conor Mallon in action for Tyrone. Picture by Pat McSorley

A TYRONE under-21 footballer has pleaded guilty to being drunk during a night out in Carlingford, Co Louth - but avoided a conviction after paying €250 to the court 'poor box'.

Conor Mallon (21), whose address was given as Rossmore Road, Dungannon, appeared before Dundalk District Court yesterday where he admitted being drunk in the village on April 24.

Garda Inspector Martin Beggy said shortly after midnight officers were alerted to the presence of "a large group of people" on the street.

Mallon was asked for his details but "he had to be arrested because of his condition".

Barrister Brendan Guildea said his client was willing to apologise to the inspector in open court.

Addressing the officer, Mallon said: "I had too much to drink. I had lost my wallet. It was totally out of character for me and I'm sorry."

Inspector Beggy said he would accept the apology.

Mr Guildea said his client, who has no previous convictions in either jurisdiction, is a fourth year student at Jordanstown and "hopes to travel to the US on a J1 visa".

Judge William Hamill commented: "Well, he didn't think of that on the night."

The court heard the defendant is currently living with his parents and had travelled to Carlingford with a team from Tyrone.

The barrister said "a group mentality" had prevailed and "none of them are habitual drinkers".

Mr Guildea said his client was "happy for the €150 bail lodged to be forefeited to the court poor box and is willing to offer an additional €100 if that's acceptable".

After a short adjournment for Mallon to get the cash from a nearby ATM, Judge Hamill dismissed the charge under the Probation of Offenders Act.

He said no conviction would be recorded.

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