herald

Saturday 10 December 2016

Hurler Coen banned and fined for drunken golf buggy ride

Courts

Galway’s Jonathan Coen
Galway’s Jonathan Coen

A Galway hurler has been put off the road by a court in Fermanagh after he drunkenly drove a golf buggy from a wedding reception into town.

Jonathan Coen (24), who has been a member of the senior Galway team since 2011, pleaded guilty to drink-driving and taking a conveyance without authority when he appeared before Enniskillen Magistrates Court.

Coen was at the wedding of teammate David Collins at the Lough Erne Resort in Fermanagh last November 6 last when the incident happened.

When he could not get a taxi back into Enniskillen in the early hours of Saturday, he took the buggy, which was sitting in the grounds of the resort with the keys inside.

He was stopped by police after they received calls of a buggy being driven on the main Lough Shore Road, Silverhill, at 4.20am.

The court heard Coen had travelled four miles from the resort and was "weaving" along the road when police stopped him, the Fermanagh Herald reported.

He was taken to Enniskillen police station where his alcohol reading was more than twice the legal limit.Coen, who also plays for his local Loughrea team, was travelling with a second Galway hurler in the buggy when he was stopped.

When interviewed the following morning, Coen, a teacher, accepted full responsibility for taking the buggy.

His defence solicitor Barry Lynam said Coen accepted his actions had been "foolish in the extreme".

Judge Nigel Broderick said the buggy was in no way fit for the public road, particularly in the hours of darkness.

He said that if any vehicle had come along, Coen and his passenger along with others on the road could have been killed.

It heard he was of good character and a reference was handed in from his employer.

Judge Broderick said the incident was not the usual case of drink driving. He said it was all the more remarkable given Coen's good character.

He disqualified the hurler from driving for 14 months, until re-tested, and fined him £350 (€486).

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