Alleged victim of Limerick hurler was stood on and punched during mob assault, court hears

The court heard that Mr Hayes shouted "do you know who the f-ck I am" before stamping on the alleged victim. Photo: Brendan Gleeson.

A MAN told the trial of five-time All-Ireland winning Limerick hurler Kyle Hayes, who is charged with assault causing harm to a man outside a city nightclub, that he saw the hurler and others standing on and punching the alleged victim who was lying in the “foetal position” on the street.

Kyle Hayes (25), of Ballyashea, Kildimo, County Limerick, is on trial before the Limerick Circuit Criminal Court charged with assault causing harm to Cillian McCarthy (24) on October 28, 2019.

Mr Hayes, a four-time All Star hurler and Young Hurler of the Year 2018, is also charged with two counts of violent disorder on the same date. He denies all three charges.

Following legal argument in the case today (Friday), Judge Dermot Sheehan told the jury it did not have to concern itself any longer with another accused in the case – Jai Chaudri (22), of Carheeny, Kildimo, who was before the court on one count of violent disorder and one count of assault causing harm to Mr McCarthy.

Christopher Heelan, a native of Caherdavin, told the court that, on the night, he saw Kyle Hayes “pacing up and down and looking quite angry” outside the Icon nightclub on Upper Denmark Street in Limerick City.

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The court also saw CCTV footage allegedly showing Kyle Hayes and others assaulting Mr McCarthy on the dancefloor of the club earlier on in the night, as well as footage of Mr Hayes and others allegedly following Mr McCarthy out of the nightclub.

The court heard Mr Hayes warned Mr McCarthy – who was chatting with two girls he knew inside the club – to “stay the f-ck away” from the girls and shouted at him “do you know who the f-ck I am?”.

Mr Heelan, giving direct evidence to the court, said he was walking along the street outside the club in the early hours of the morning and came upon his friend, Cillian McCarthy, whose face and clothes were covered in blood.

Mr Heelan said he tried to intervene when “a number of men” surrounded Mr McCarthy and their friend Craig Cosgrave, assaulting them while they were “on the ground in the foetal position”.

The court heard that Cillian McCarthy suffered a fractured eye socket in the attack. Photo: Brendan Gleeson.

“It looked to me that, at times, that he (Mr McCarthy) was being stood on,” Mr Heelan said.

Mr Heelan – who identified Kyle Hayes as one of the accused in court involved in the attack – said he saw the well-known Limerick hurler “punch Cillian McCarthy on the (ground) and stand on him as well”.

Mr Heelan said the group of males “departed the scene” when Gardaí arrived on the street with their emergency blue lights activated.

“I waited with Cillian until an ambulance arrived, he seemed to be very weak and bloodied, his t-shirt and jumper were covered in blood.”

Earlier, Aislinn Condon, a qualified primary school teacher from Crecora, told the court that Kyle Hayes approached Craig Cosgrave, who was in her company at a bar in the nightclub earlier on on the night, and was asking him why he was dancing with another girl who was also one of their friends, and who was seeing a friend of Kyle Hayes’ at the time.

Ms Condon said Mr Cosgrave tried to explain to Mr Hayes that he was just friends with the young woman but that Kyle Hayes didn’t appear to be happy with this explanation.

Asked by Mr O’Sullivan if she felt it was a “threatening scenario”, Ms Condon replied “yes”.

Ms Condon agreed with Mr Hayes’ barrister, senior counsel Brian McInerney, that if one of her friends was seeing someone and they were being flirted with by a male that she and her friends would tell the male to “butt out”, and that, if he didn’t comply, they might use “unparliamentary language” to tell him.

Craig Cosgrave, who it was heard threw a punch earlier on the night inside the nightclub in trying to defend Mr McCarthy, is charged with one count of violent disorder, which he denies.

The trial continues next Tuesday.