Updated: 26/01/17 : 05:10:50
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Former Sligo Rovers manager jailed by Donegal Court

A former Sligo Rovers manager, credited with discovering Ireland and Everton star Seamie Coleman, was yesterday sentenced to six months in prison for driving offences.

He was also disqualified from driving for six years.

Sean Connor (49) of Fiafannon, Killybegs was before Glenties District Court on Wednesday. He admitted three counts of driving without insurance or licence.

Donegal Now reported that Inspector Denis Joyce told the court that on November 28, 2015 at Aighe, Ardara, Garda Dylan Conroy saw a silver Vauxhall Corsa with full headlights on. He pulled the car over and found the driver had driven from Derry without the use of dipped headlights. There was a child in the car with Connor.

Furthermore, he was disqualified from driving at the time.

On March 1, 2016 Garda Conroy again saw Connor driving the same Corsa. The defendant pulled up at a chip van and got out. Since Garda Conroy knew that the driver was disqualified, he seized the car.

Connor argued that he was allowed to drive under his Northern Ireland licence.

He was seen driving a third time by Garda Conroy on March 12, 2016 at Drumaghy, Ardara. The Garda followed Connor into a filling station. Garda Conroy again seized the car. The defendant repeated his argument that he was allowed to drive because he had a Northern Ireland license.

Solicitor Cormac Hartnett said his client was under a further mistaken belief that he had served his full disqualification by March.

This stemmed from confusion over the date on which the one-year disqualification took effect. Connor had a notice from the district court with a start date in February 2015. However, he had appealed the case to the circuit court. That meant that the disqualification began after the circuit court ruling in April 2015.

Named Driver

“He was of the genuine, vociferous belief that he was allowed to drive during this period,” said Mr Hartnett.

The solicitor added that the defendant now accepted that he should not have been driving on those dates.

He said Connor was on a University of Ulster sports coaching course and also worked on a Killybegs Employment Project.

The court then heard that Connor was a named driver on a UK insurance policy taken out during his disqualification period.

Judge Paul Kelly asked how the defendant could have obtained insurance when he was disqualified.

“I don’t believe for one moment that when he applied for that policy, he told them he was disqualified,” said Judge Kelly. “It is utterly inconceivable that an insurance company would issue a policy to someone who has told them ‘I am disqualified from driving.’”

The judge sentenced Connor to six months in prison and disqualified him from driving for six years. He imposed total fines of €550.

Connor was granted leave to appeal on his own bond of €500 with €250 to be lodged in cash and an independent surety of €600.

An appeal was lodged before the court session ended. Connor was released on bail to await the appeal to the circuit court.