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Saturday 2 December 2023 Dublin: 2°C
EVAN TREACY/INPHO File image of Limerick hurler Kyle Hayes.
Limerick Circuit Criminal Court

Limerick hurler Kyle Hayes 'kicked and punched' defenceless man lying on street, trial hears

Two gardaí allegedly witnessed Hayes and others attacking the alleged victim outside a nightclub in 2019.

LAST UPDATE | Nov 21st 2023, 6:51 PM

FIVE-TIME ALL-IRELAND winning Limerick hurler Kyle Hayes “kicked and punched” a man who was lying defenceless on a street, after becoming “upset” that the man had spoken to two women in a nightclub he was socialising in, a court heard today.

Hayes “fled’ from the scene of the alleged “attack”, outside the ICON nightclub, Upper Denmark Street, Limerick City, and was arrested by gardaí a short time later, it was heard.

Two gardaí allegedly witnessed Hayes and others attacking the alleged victim outside the nightclub on 28 October 2019.

Hayes (25), of Ballyashea, Kildimo, Co Limerick, went on trial today before Limerick Circuit Criminal Court, charged with one count of assault causing harm to Cillian McCarthy (24), of Toureen, Ballysimon, Co Limerick, outside the ICON nightclub, in the early hours of the morning in question.

The four-time All-Star Limerick hurler is also charged with two counts of committing violent disorder, including earlier on one occasion inside the nightclub, and later on during the alleged street attack on McCarthy.

A co-accused, Craig Cosgrave (24), of Caherelly, Grange, Co Limerick, is charged with violent disorder inside the ICON nightclub on the same date.

A third accused, Jai Chaudri (22), of Carheeny, Kildimo, is also charged with assault causing harm to McCarthy and with one count of violent disorder outside the ICON on the same date.

All three have pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

Prosecution Counsel, John O’Sullivan BL, told the jury they would hear evidence that Cillian McCarthy, whom he described as a “hard working, honest and truthful” qualified carpenter, had been socialising in the ICON, in the company of Craig Cosgrave “who at the time, was a friend of his”.

“Cillian McCarthy got talking to two girls, and it appears that Kyle Hayes was upset about this; it didn’t sit well with him (Kyle Hayes),” O’Sullivan said.

“Putting it in plain terms, Cillian McCarthy was set upon by Kyle Hayes and others, and numerous punches were thrown.”

O’Sullivan told the jury they would see CCTV footage harvested by gardaí from the nightclub and other local bars and clubs “which will tell you what happened”.

“It is the prosecution’s case that Kyle Hayes and others pursued Cillian McCarthy outside the nightclub and that Kyle Hayes attacked Cillian McCarthy on the public street.”

O’Sullivan said Jai Chaudri joined Hayes in assaulting McCarthy, while he lay on the ground.

O’Sullivan said there was no CCTV footage of the alleged attack on the street, but that two gardaí, who “are very important witnesses”, and who were on the scene at the time, “will give evidence that they saw Kyle Hayes and others punch and kick Cillian McCarthy while he was down on the ground”.

“You will hear evidence that Kyle Hayes fled the scene and he was captured (by Gardaí) a short time later.”

McCarthy suffered a number of facial injuries including “a fracture” to his right eye socket.

“None of these accused men had been under any threat whatsoever…and the violence inflicted on Cillian McCarthy was totally unjustified”.

In summing up his introduction, O’ Sullivan said: “Cillian McCarthy offended Kyle Hayes by simply engaging in conversation with two girls – that’s it, that’s what started it all off.”

Turning to the jury, he added: “Yes, you might say this was trivial, but sadly the actions of Kyle Hayes and others was not trivial…there wasn’t the slightest justification or the violence inflicted on Cillian McCarthy.”

CCTV footage

When the court resumed after lunch Detective Garda Barry Moylan, Henry Street Garda Station, played in court CCTV footage taken from inside the ICON nightclub, showing a fight breaking out on the club’s dance floor on the night in question.

Under cross examination by Craig Cosgrave’s barrister Seamus Roche SC, detective garda Moylan said that, from watching the CCTV footage it appeared that Kyle Hayes and another unidentified male had “instigated” the dance floor fight.

Detective Moylan said he accepted that Cosgrave was “not the instigator” of the dance-floor melee.

He said Cosgrave had thrown a punch during the melee that connected with a female bouncer.

He said also accepted Cosgrave got involved in the brawl as he was “concerned” for McCarthy’s welfare.

Garda Moylan also agreed with Roche that it was alleged Kyle Hayes had approached McCarthy and Cosgrave earlier on the night, in Smyth’s Bar, which is located on the ground floor of the nightclub, and that words were enhanced between the group.

The CCTV footage from the dance floor later on in the night appeared to show Kyle Hayes again approaching McCarthy moments before punches were thrown at McCarthy.

Garda Moylan agreed that the footage appeared to show a troop worn by McCarthy’s being pulled before a number of punches rain down on him “by a number of individuals”.

“There’s a number of strikes from numerous individuals including Kyle Hayes, which is discernible from the CCTV footage,” Garda Moylan said.

Other footage shown to the court showed McCarthy being followed out of the venue by Kyle Hayes.

Footage also showed Kyle Hayes, another man, and Cillian Mccarthy involved in what appear to be more exchange of words.

More CCTV footage played in court showed McCarthy walking away from a group that included Kyle Hayes and co-accused Jai Chaudri.

It’s alleged Gardai later saw Hayes, and Chaudri kicking and punching McCarthy while he is lying on a street near the nightclub.

Garda Moylan gave evidence that CCTV footage from the area showed Hayes receiving a grey coloured hoody from another male and putting the garment on him. Both men are seen on footage running along Upper Denmark Street and away from the nightclub.

Under further cross examination Garda Moylan agreed with Hayes barrister Brian McInerney SC, that Hayes left the nightclub “under his own steam”, while McCarthy had been “ejected” from the club by security staff.

The trial continues tomorrow.