A MAN told a Limerick court today (Thursday) that he was chased, tripped, punched, and kicked as he lay on the ground by a group of males, which included five-time All-Ireland winning hurler Kyle Hayes.
Cillian McCarthy (24) told Limerick Circuit Criminal Court that Kyle Hayes (25) and others “punched” and “stamped” on him after he was “tripped” to the ground outside the Icon nightclub in Limerick City on October 28, 2019.
Prosecuting counsel, John O’Sullivan BL, told the court that two Gardaí will give evidence that they saw Mr Hayes and others assaulting Mr McCarthy as he lay on a street outside the nightclub on the night in question.
Giving direct evidence at Limerick Circuit Criminal Court, where Kyle Hayes and two other accused men are on trial, Cillian McCarthy alleged that Mr Hayes also assaulted him inside the nightclub earlier on the night after he became angry that Mr McCarthy was chatting to two females at the bar.
Mr McCarthy alleged that Mr Hayes approached him and his friend, Craig Cosgrave, in Smyth’s Bar (attached to the Icon nightclub), and warned them to “stay the f-ck away” from the two girls.
Mr McCarthy said Kyle Hayes, who was recently crowned with his fourth consecutive All Star, became “aggressive” and shouted at him: “Do you know who the f-ck I am?”.
Mr McCarthy, who said he had shared a litre bottle of Captain Morgan’s rum with Mr Cosgrave prior to attending the bar, said he tried explaining to Mr Hayes that the girls were old school friends of his “but he (Hayes) did not want to hear it”.
“I just walked away. I knew where it was going. I thought it was going to lead towards a fight – I didn’t want that,” Mr McCarthy said.
He alleged that when he met the two girls again later on, on the club’s dancefloor, Mr Hayes became “very aggressive” and “charged” towards him.
“He (Hayes) told me he was getting sick of me, he told me if I wanted ‘to do it’, we’d ‘do it’,” Mr McCarthy said.
Another man who was with Mr Hayes “threw the first punch, hitting me in my right eye”, Mr McCarthy claimed.
He said Kyle Hayes and the other man began “punching me continuously into the head”.
He said he received more blows to the head when others joined in the brawl.
Mr McCarthy said he was removed from the dancefloor by security staff and admitted he was “mad” by what happened.
“I was mad, I was in pain, and I was agitated, I won’t lie”.
“My right eye was pounding, I could feel blood dripping down my face, it was getting hard to see out though it as it was swelling up a lot.”
Mr McCarthy told the court after CCTV footage of the alleged dancefloor brawl was played to the jury: “You can clearly see Kyle Hayes jumping in and punching me.”
Mr McCarthy said when he eventually left the club bruised and bloodied he was pursued by Kyle Hayes and others.
He said Mr Hayes caught up with him “and told me I was all alone now and he’d dig the head off me”.
Mr McCarthy said he told Kyle Hayes to “f-ck off, that I’d already got a beating”.
He said he “started to panic” when other males joined Kyle Hayes across the street from him.
Mr McCarthy said a friend of his then informed him that, despite his best efforts to try and calm the situation, there was “no reasoning with Kyle Hayes, who said he wanted to fight me one-to-one” – a claim refuted by Mr Hayes’ barrister, senior counsel Brian McInerney.
Mr McCarthy further alleged that Mr Hayes and others ran towards Craig Cosgrave – who had allegedly thrown punches during the dancefloor melee earlier on the night while trying to protect Mr McCarthy – as he left the venue.
Mr McCarthy said “it all kicked off again” and he ran towards the parties “to try and help Craig, who was on his own”.
He said Kyle Hayes and others began “throwing punches left, right and centre, trying to attack us”.
Mr McCarthy said the group chased them up the street and he was knocked to the ground.
“That’s when they started stamping on me,” he told the court.
“They were hitting me as I was running away, I was tripped onto the ground and I was attacked and stamped on.”
Asked by John O’Sullivan, for the DPP, who had stamped on him, Mr McCarthy replied: “Kyle Hayes, Jai Chaudri, (and others).”
Mr McCarthy said that “about five or six” males, including Kyle Hayes and Jai Chaudri, were “standing over me, stamping all over me with their feet”.
He said that, “between punches and kicks”, he suffered “roughly about 20 continuous blows” to his head and body.
He told the court he sustained a “fracture” to a bone under his right eye and underwent surgery to “put it back into place”.
Under cross examination by Mr Hayes’ barrister, Brian McInerney SC, Mr McCarthy denied he was the “aggressor” on the night and that his motivation was to “do damage” to Mr Hayes.
Mr McCarthy denied that all Mr Hayes said to him on the night was to stop talking to a girl who was in a relationship with one of his friends.
Mr McCarthy reiterated that Mr Hayes became aggressive and abusive to him while he was chatting to girls who were friends of his since their schooldays.
Mr McCarthy also denied suggestions by Mr McInerney that Mr Hayes had only approached him on the street outside the club after he had become embroiled in an incident outside the club with Kyle Hayes’ brother, Cian Hayes.
Kyle Hayes, of Ballyashea, Kildimo, County Limerick, denies one count of assault causing harm to Mr McCarthy and two counts of violent disorder, inside and outside Icon nightclub, on October 28, 2019.
Jai Chaudri (22), of Carheeny, Kildimo, denies one count of assaulting Mr McCarthy causing him harm, as well as one count of violent disorder, on the same night.
Craig Cosgrave (24), of Caherally, Grange, County Limerick, denies one count of violent disorder.
The trial, being heard before Judge Dermot Sheehan and a jury of seven men and five women, resumes Friday at Limerick Circuit Criminal Court.