Shane can rest in peace

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Shane Geoghegan

SHANE Geoghegan can finally rest in peace.

After five heartbreaking years, three criminal trials and countless hours of media focus, the Geoghegan family were able to mourn his passing when the inquest into his death was heard in Limerick this week.

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Murdered in cold blood by gunman Barry Doyle, Shane Geoghegan was the popular rugby captain shot in a case of mistaken identity just yards from his home. Doyle was a drug dealing addict operating on the orders of John Dundon, one of Limerick’s most feared gangland criminals.

Doyle was jailed for life. Dundon still pleads his innocence despite the murder conviction handed down by the Special Criminal Court last month.

This Wednesday, Limerick Coroner, Anthony Casey reopened the inquest into  Shane Geoghegan’s  death and closed the final chapter in proceedings when the jury returned a verdict of murder in accordance with the medical evidence.

The 28-year-old rugby player was the innocent victim in a gangland killing at Kilteragh, Dooradoyle on November 9, 2008.

The inquest had previously opened in 2010 but was adjourned pending the completion of the trials of Barry Doyle and later John Dundon. Both are now serving life in prison.

Shane’s aunt Margaret Walsh, the driving force behind the “Pitch for Shane” exhibition, gave evidence of identifying her nephew’s body in the hospital at 8pm on Sunday November 9, 2008.

Shane’s mother, Mary; his brother, Anthony and girlfriend Jenna Barry heard evidence of the postmortem carried out by State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy and how his killer chased him before inflicting four gun shots to the body.

The trajectory of the bullets indicate that Shane was chased while being shot at and that he was crouched on the ground before he died.

Four gunshot wounds were inflicted while Shane, lying on the ground, faced his killer. The fifth and fatal shot, according Professor Cassidy ,would have made him “incapable of movement and likely to have been the last injury sustained.” It would have killed him instantly.

In her conclusion, Prof Cassidy said that the cause of death for the 6 foot 2 inch rugby player was due to gunshot wounds to the head and trunk.

Closing the inquest, sympathies were expressed to the Geoghegan family on behalf of an Garda Siochana by Inspector Dermot O’Connor, the six person jury and Limerick Coroner Dr Anthony Casey.

“It must be horrific and any family’s nightmare to wake up to find those events unfolding,” he said.

Mary Geoghegan again listened to how her son was killed and, like many times before, she showed immense strength of character and almost surreal dignity.

“Thank you” was all she said.

Soft words were gently spoken between Mrs Geoghegan, garda liaison officer Deirdre Cleary and Sgt Denis Treacy, before a grieving mother asked if she could get her son’s belongings back.

Outside, Mary Geoghegan and Jenna Barry twice embraced as the chapter closed on these horrific and tragic events.