Former-Finn Harps manager ordered to pay victim €15,800 for assault

LetterkennyCOurtFormer Finn Harps manager Patsy McGowan has been ordered to pay a man €15,800 damages after he brutally assaulted him in the boardroom of the club.

McGowan assaulted fellow board member Shane McConnell at the Co Donegal club following a fall-out over internet rumours.

77-year-old Patsy McGowan of Knock, Ballybofey, was convicted of assaulting 34-year-old Shane McConnell on July 29, 2008, during a meeting of the club’s directors.

McGowan was convicted and fined €1,750 the following year after entering a “half plea” in the District Court.

However, Mr McConnell, who was 28 at the time, took an action for damages which McGowan fully contested until an hour before the matter was to be heard at yesterdays sitting of the Civil Circuit Court.

Judge John Hannan heard evidence that Mr McConnell was at a meeting of directors of Finn Harps when his friend, Mr Rodney Dullaghan, got into an argument with McGowan.

McGowan had accused Mr Dullaghan of publishing comments about him on a supporters website that he was administrating.

Judge Hannan heard that Mr McConnell tried to intervene, but McGowan told him to shut up and punched him in the nose, knocking him to the floor.

The court also heard that McGowan pulled lumps out of McConnells head as he dragged him across the floor.

McConnell was left with a broken nose and a lot of bruising.

Mr McConnell went on to say that he looked on McGowan, who steered Harps to their first and only FAI Cup victory in 1974, as “a hero” since he was a boy.

He added that the first time he had ever spoken to the former manager was on the night he assaulted him.

McGowan’s barrister, Mr James O’Donnell, said that his client only conceded the case about an hour before it was due to start. He added that McGowan was “full of regret”, however, the court heard he never apologised to Mr McConnell or made any effort to contact him since the incident.

Mr McConnell’s barrister, Seamus Breen, said McGowan only entered a “half plea” to the assault charged after being told he would go to prison.

Judge Hannan said Mr McConnell was a young man who had followed Finn Harps since he was a boy and there had been no evidence that he provoked McGowan or that he used force.

Judge Hannan ordered McGowan to pay €15,000, plus “special” damages of €800 to cover medical and other costs.