Former GAA coach pleads not guilty to sex assault charges

Tuesday 29 April 2014 23.21
The man has pleaded not guilty to 54 charges of indecently assaulting five boys in the 1980s
The man has pleaded not guilty to 54 charges of indecently assaulting five boys in the 1980s

The trial has begun at Sligo Circuit court of a former GAA coach at underage level.

The man, who is now in his 70s has pleaded not guilty to 54 charges of indecently assaulting five boys in the 1980s.

It is alleged that most of the offences took place at the man's home where he lived alone at the time and in his car.

On other occasions it is alleged he assaulted the boys in the countryside and one of the assaults allegedly took place after he had taken one of the boys to Croke Park. 

Prosecuting barrister Eileen O'Leary told the court that four of the alleged victims were coached by the man in their local GAA club.

He said a common feature relating to the five boys was that the accused became friendly with their parents and gained their trust, thereby being able to spend time alone with the boys.

One of the complainants gave evidence that the man had coached him in football and for the community games.

Football was always the main topic of conversation with him, he said and the first time he was assaulted by him was when he cycled to the man's house and he took him into a bedroom to show him his football medals.

He said he was just 11 years old at the time and was very confused and he said it haunts him to this day that he did not run out the door.

Afterwards, he said, the man drove him home and went into the house where his mother made tea for him.

He said the second assault took place on a hillside in a remote area and on this occasion the man told him he was thinking of making him captain of the team.

He said he felt very uncomfortable and confused and two things stayed in his mind, the assault and being made captain.