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Camogie star Ashling Thompson pleads guilty to assault in Cork nightclub

Jennifer Coakley told Cork District Court that the attack came from nowhere.

Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

A GAA STAR who has won three All-Ireland camogie medals has pleaded guilty to an unprovoked assault on a woman in a nightclub in Cork city last year.

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

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 (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, and did not address the court.

Her solicitor Eddie Burke said that it was “unfortunate” that she had been subjected to the media glare. Sentencing will take place in the case on 18 June next.

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.

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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.

Ashling is a high profile mental health campaigner and has also been nominated for style awards in Irish magazines.

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

Comments are closed as sentencing is due.

About the author:

Olivia Kelleher

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