The Young Offenders (2016)


The Young Offenders (2016)

Inspired by the true story of Ireland's biggest cocaine seizure in 2007, The Young Offenders is a comedy road movie about best friends Conor and Jock, two inner-city teenagers from Cork who dress the same, act the same, and even have the same bum-fluff mustaches. Jock is a legendary bike thief who plays a daily game of cat-and-mouse with the bike-theft-obsessed Garda Sergeant Healy. When a drug-trafficking boat capsizes off the coast of West Cork and 61 bales of cocaine, each worth 7 million euro, are seized, word gets out that there is a bale missing. The boys steal two bikes and go on a road trip hoping to find a missing bale which they can sell so as to escape their troubled home lives....But Sergeant Healy is in hot pursuit.
IMDb   7.1 /10
TheMovieDb    7.1 /10
FilmAffinity   6.3 /10
Director Peter Foott
Writer Peter Foott
Writer Jocelyn Clarke
Writer Hilary Rose
Release Date2016-09-16
Runtime1h 23min
GenreAdventure, Comedy, Crime, Drama
Content Rating
Awards11 wins & 10 nominations.
CompanyScreen Ireland, Vico Films
Conor MacSweeney
Jock Murphy
Mairead MacSweeney / Female News Anchor
Sergeant Healy
Ray the Drug Dealer
Billy Murphy
Superintendent Flynn
Jock's Dad / News Reporter
Jock's Mother
Big Mouth (as Thomas Harris)

The Young Offenders (film)

The Young Offenders is a 2016 Irish comedy film written, directed, and co-produced by Peter Foott. It stars Alex Murphy, Chris Walley, Dominic MacHale, Hilary Rose, Shane Casey, Pascal Scott, and P. J. Gallagher.


Best friends Conor and Jock are two teenagers from Cork who dress the same, act the same, and even have the same weak moustaches. Jock is a notorious bicycle thief who plays a daily game of cat-and-mouse with the bike-theft-obsessed police sergeant Healy, and lives with his alcoholic, abusive father. Conor is the son of a single mother, Mairéad, who works for a fishmonger at an indoor food market and with whom he has a strained relationship. When a drug trafficking boat capsizes off the southwest coast of County Cork, leading to the seizure of 61 bales of cocaine, each worth €7 million, word gets out that there is a bale missing.

Conor and Jock steal two bikes and go on a road trip, hoping to find the missing bale, which they can sell and therefore escape their troubled home lives. Unfortunately for them, Healy had hid a GPS tracker in the bike that Jock stole for himself as a trap and is in hot pursuit. By chance, the boys find the bale of cocaine in a ruined castle that Conor was defecating in, in the possession of a disabled drug dealer named Ray. They steal it while he sleeps but he wakes up and unsuccessfully tries to stop them.

Using Conor's sweater which he left with Ray to keep him warm while he slept, and had Conor's name on it, Ray gives chase to the boys. In the midst of celebrating their victory, Conor unknowingly snags the bag on barbed wire and rips it, so the cocaine slowly leaks out on the journey home until there is none left by the time they get back. The two fall out and Jock gets drunk and passes out, while Conor comes home and eventually patches things up with his mother. Jock's father comes home and violently beats him until Healy comes to Jock's home intending to arrest him, subsequently realizing the extent of Jock's home life.

However, Jock sneaks out upon being informed that Ray is looking for them by a neighbourhood friend. Ray later tracks them down, steals a nail gun from a hardware store, and angrily invades Conor's home as Jock gets to his house to tell him about Ray, and Healy simultaneously gets there looking for Conor. Ray knocks out Healy and threatens Conor, Jock and Mairéad, not believing that the pair are so stupid as to lose €7 million worth of cocaine. Strangely enough, a local thug named Billy Murphy whom the pair put in prison on drug charges by tricking Healy into thinking he stole a bike enters, looking for vengeance against the pair.

In a rare show of intelligence, Conor tricks Ray into thinking Billy stole the cocaine and a struggle ensues where Mairéad ends up knocking out both Ray and Billy, and both are arrested. Conor and Jock spin the tale to paint Healy as a hero to the media, to his chagrin, while Jock is put into foster care with Conor and his mother due to his abusive upbringing.


  • Alex Murphy as Conor MacSweeney
  • Chris Walley as Jock Murphy
  • Hilary Rose as Mairéad MacSweeney
  • Dominic MacHale as Sergeant Healy
  • P. J. Gallagher as Ray
  • Shane Casey as Billy Murphy
  • Pascal Scott as Farmer
  • Judy Donovan as Local Shopkeeper
  • Michael Sands as Jock's Dad
  • Ciaran Bermingham as Superintendent Flynn
  • Stephen O'Connor as Angry Dad
  • Fionula Linehan as DIY Worker
  • Antoinette Hilliard as Fish Head Woman


The film is based on the seizure of 1.5 tonnes of cocaine off the Irish coast near Mizen Head in 2007. The film was shot in Cork and along the Wild Atlantic Way.


The Young Offenders premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh on 8 July 2016, and won Best Irish Feature Film at the festival. It became the fastest Irish film to break the €1 million mark at the Irish box office in 2016. Carnaby Sales and Distribution has acquired the international sales rights to the film, while a deal with Vertigo Releasing would see the film released in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.

The film had its premiere for the United States at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas on 23 September 2016, where it won a Special Mention for Best Comedy Debut. It was released in the United Kingdom on 13 January 2017.

Reception and awards

The Irish Examiner scored the film 4/5, saying "huge potential for that rare breakout hit which also attains a cultish following with endlessly quotable one liners". The Irish Times named it as one of the highlights of the Galway Film Fleadh, saying that Walley and Murphy are "brilliant as track suited layabouts who, though lazy, impulsive and ignorant, remain endlessly lovable throughout". After its premiere in the United States, The Austin Chronicle called the film "a charming return for Irish comedy". On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an 100% approval rating based on 22 reviews.

2016Los Angeles Comedy FestivalBest Feature Film, Best Feature Screenplay, Best Feature DirectionWon
2016Irish Film Festival LondonThe Súil Eile Award, The Ros Hubbard Award for ActingWon
2016Fantastic FestSpecial Mention for Best Comedy DebutWon
2016Galway Film FleadhBest Irish Feature FilmWon
2016Dublin Film Critics AwardsBest Irish FilmNominated
2017Irish Film and Television AwardsBest Script - FilmWon
2017Irish Film and Television AwardsBest FilmNominated
2017Irish Film and Television AwardsBest Actor in a Lead Role - Alex MurphyNominated
2017Irish Film and Television AwardsBest Actor in a Supporting Role - Chris WalleyNominated
2017Irish Film and Television AwardsBest Actress in a Supporting Role - Hilary RoseNominated
2017Irish Film and Television AwardsBest Director- Film - Peter FoottNominated
2017Irish Film and Television AwardsRising Star Award - Peter FoottNominated

In other media


In May 2017, a six episode television series was announced. The series began to air in February 2018, with the BBC commissioning a second season which aired in late 2019. A third season aired in 2020.