GAA All-Star and former Cork camogie captain Ashling Thompson has been warned that she will face imprisonment for assaulting two women if she does not honour a court undertaking to pay €6,000 to her victims and to charity.
The 29-year-old, from Shinnagh, Newtwoshandrum, Charleville, Co Cork, pleaded guilty at Cork District Court to assaulting Jennifer Coakley, 26, and Aoife O'Flaherty, 23, at The Secret Garden, Rearden's, on Washington Street in Cork on 25 February 2018.
District Court Judge Con O'Leary said he would not record a conviction against Thompson if she gave an undertaking to make a donation of €2,500 to Edel House Emergency Shelter for Women and Children; €1,000 to the Cuanlee Women's Refuge; €2,000 towards the expenses of Jennifer Coakley and €500 towards Aoife O'Flaherty's expenses.
Judge O'Leary said if she failed to pay the monies by 30 September, the State would be at liberty to re-enter the matter and she would face imprisonment.
At a previous sitting of the court, Ms Coakley told Judge O'Leary that Thompson struck her with her right elbow after she started talking to a man who was with the camogie player.
She suffered a hairline fracture to her jaw, but said she had not followed up with medical attention.
Today, Inspector Sean McCarthy gave details of the second assault, which happened some 90 minutes later when Ms Thompson struck Ms O'Flaherty on the back of the head on the dancefloor of the night club.
Defence solicitor Eddie Burke said Ms O'Flaherty did not seek any medical help and although she complained of pain in her neck, was back in the gym within days.
Mr Burke pleaded for leniency for his client, submitting a number of references and documentation of social media comments to the judge.
He said his client has suffered hugely because of the publicity surrounding the assaults, with a lot of commentary on social media long before she was charged with any offence.
She had lost all of her sponsors, bar one, and they were awaiting the outcome of this case.
Judge O'Leary said he did not question Ms Thompson's sporting prowess, but he still did not understand how she had committed two assaults while drunk, as people often get drunk and do not assault others.
Mr Burke said his client had played a camogie match in Offaly earlier in the day, had not eaten and became intoxicated as she is not used to alcohol because of her sporting career.
Judge O'Leary said he was surprised at the "huge media fascination with this case".
He said asking for her to undertake to pay €6,000 to charity and to the victims may appear lenient, but he was taking into account her loss of sponsors, the deep humiliation she suffered because of the media attention, and the "quite unpleasant" comments on social media.
"Enough is enough, as far as I am concerned," he said
But he warned her that all her bridges have been burned if she does not pay the money by 30 September.
Ms Thompson emerged from the court accompanied by her solicitor Eddie Burke.
Commenting on her behalf, Mr Burke said it was "a very regretful incident for everyone involved".
He said it was regretful that his client found herself in court, but she has dealt with it and dealt with it honourably.
"She now wants to get on with her life and hopefully back to playing with Cork," he added.
Mr Burke said that these are young people and unfortunately these things happen in night clubs.
His client is hoping everybody can get on with their lives and put this behind them.