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Camogie star Ashling Thompson pleads guilty to assaulting second woman in Cork nightclub

She will be sentenced in relation to both of the assaults next Tuesday.

Ashling Thompson
Ashling Thompson
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

A GAA STAR, who has won three All Ireland camogie medals, has pleaded guilty to assaulting a second woman in a nightclub in Cork city last year.

Ashling Thompson (28) of Shinanagh, Newtownshandrum, Charleville, Co Cork pleaded guilty earlier this year to assaulting Jennifer Coakley, on 25 February 2018 at Secret Garden in Rearden’s, Washington Street in Cork city.

Her solicitor Eddie Burke previously indicated that his client planned to contest an assault charge she faced against Aoife O’Flaherty on the same occasion in Rearden’s. However, when Thompson appeared before Judge John King at District Court today she entered a plea of guilty to a charge of assaulting O’Flaherty.

No details were given of the incident. A victim impact case was due to be read out in order to proceed to sentencing.

However, Judge King ruled that the case be adjourned until 25 June to allow Judge Con O’Leary to sentence on the matter. He said that the assaults were best dealt with together.

Judge O’Leary heard evidence at the last hearing in May from Coakley who travelled back from Abu Dhabi where she works for the Royal Family to give a victim impact statement.

At the May hearing Inspector James Hallahan told Cork District Court that at 2.44am on the date in question Coakley approached a man in the nightclub who was talking to Ashling Thompson. Coakley knew the man but she wasn’t acquainted with the GAA player.

Inspector Hallahan said Thompson struck Jennifer Coakley. Her right elbow connected with Coakley’s jaw causing it damage.

Coakley took the stand to detail how the assault has impacted on her life. Judge Con O’Leary heard that Coakley is employed in Abu Dhabi where she rides horses for the royal family. She said she was inconvenienced in having to return back to Cork for the hearing.

Jennifer Coakley stated that she was about to head to Singapore for a career break when the assault occurred. She had to delay the trip. She insisted the attack came from nowhere.

“I didn’t know the person. (Ms Thompson). It wasn’t pleasant. I was minding my own business on my last night in Cork.”

Coakley, who is in her 20s, told Judge O’Leary that she was diagnosed with a hairline fracture. However, she failed to follow up on her medical treatment and no medical report was furnished to the courts.

She said that it was her own fault that she didn’t continue with her treatment or obtain a report.

“I wanted to put it all behind me. I wanted a new start and was moving away.”

Coakley said she still has problems with her jaw. Thompson was present in court for the short hearing.

Her solicitor Eddie Burke said that it was “unfortunate” that she had been subjected to the media glare.

Thompson has won three All Ireland medals with Cork and three Senior Club championships with Milford. She received an All Star award in 2015 and 2017 and was on All Ireland Winning teams in 2014, 2015 and 2017. She was captain of the Cork camogie team which won the O’Duffy cup in 2015.

The camogie player had a serious car crash when she was nineteen which left her with significant injuries. She was forced to stop playing for a period arising out of her injuries.

Thompson was profiled in a Laochra Gael episode. The series profiles some of the greatest names in Gaelic games.

She will be sentenced in relation to both of the assaults next Tuesday. She appeared in court today for the brief hearing.

Comments are closed as legal proceedings are ongoing. 

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About the author:

Olivia Kelleher

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