Gardaí tell court they saw All-Ireland winning Limerick hurler kick man lying on ground after nightclub brawl

Five-time All-Ireland winning hurler Kyle Hayes appeared before the courts today charged with assault causing harm to Cillian McCarthy. Photo: Brendan Gleeson.

TWO Gardaí told a court today (Tuesday) they saw five-time All-Ireland winning hurler Kyle Hayes kicking a man who was lying on the street outside a nightclub in Limerick City.

The four-time All-Star hurler told one of the two Gardaí to “f-ck off” before escaping the Garda’s grip and fleeing the scene, after which he was chased and apprehended by Gardaí, Limerick Circuit Court heard.

Mr Hayes is charged with assault causing harm to Cillian McCarthy (24) outside the Icon nightclub in Limerick City on October 28, 2019.

The star hurler, who is also accused of two counts of violent disorder on the same night, denies all charges.

Mr McCarthy’s friend, Craig Cosgrave (24), of Caherally, Grange, County Limerick, denies one count of violent disorder.

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Detective Garda Dean Landers, Roxboro Road Garda Station, gave evidence he saw two males on the ground outside the Icon nightclub on Upper Denmark Street – one who had blood on his face, while the other was surrounded by a group of men, including Kyle Hayes, who were “punching and kicking (the male) while he lay on the ground”.

He said Mr Hayes stood out from the rest of the men because “he was the taller of the group”.

The prosecution alleges Kyle Hayes and others were involved in a dancefloor brawl involving the alleged victim earlier on the night. It alleged Kyle Hayes was upset that Mr McCarthy had spoken to two females at a bar in the club, as one of the girls was seeing a friend of his.

“I saw him (Kyle Hayes) throw numerous kicks into the male who was on the ground,” Detective Landers said, and he identified the accused hurler in court as the perpetrator.

Detective Landers said he heard the man who was being kicked “screaming” for Mr Hayes to stop.

Detective Landers said he “grabbed” Mr Hayes by his arm and “pulled him away from throwing more kicks” at the male.

“I grabbed him (Mr Hayes) and identified myself as a member of An Garda Síochána and I told him to stay there.

“He told me to f-ck off and he pulled his arm, at force, away from my grip, and then he turned and ran.”

Detective Landers, who was dressed in plain clothes at the time, said he chased after Mr Hayes on foot, repeatedly shouting at him to stop, but Mr Hayes kept running.

Detective Landers said he eventually arrested Kyle Hayes after he spotted the Limerick sportsman running into the Watergate Flats area of the city.

Detective Landers said Kyle Hayes made no reply after he cautioned him under the public order act.

Detective Landers said he had witnessed Mr Hayes “kicking” a male on the ground with a “high level of force”.

“He was swinging kicks directly into the male, all over his body.

“The male was curled up into the ground while receiving kicks.”

Detective Landers said a number of others had also surrounded the male, but his “focus” was on Mr Hayes, whom he described as “the taller man” and who he suspected was the “main culprit” because of the “ferocity” of his kicks.

Kyle Hayes was conveyed to Henry Street Garda Station and processed through the custody suite at 1.38am before being initially released without charge.

Under cross examination by Kyle Hayes’ barrister, Brian McInerney SC, Det Landers said Kyle Hayes was the “person causing the damage” to a male on the ground.

He said while he was perhaps not a fit as the All-Ireland winning hurler, he had “outsmarted him on the night” by “cutting him off” in an alleyway at Watergate Flats.

Detective Landers said he did not know Kyle Hayes’ brother, Cian Hayes, who Mr McInerney said was also over six feet tall.

Mr McInerney put it to Det Landers that Cian Hayes was in the vicinity of the alleged attack on the night, and he was previously charged with violent disorder, but that the Director of Public Prosecutions had later withdrawn the charge.

Mr McInerney argued that it was Cian Hayes who came “under attack” on the night and that Kyle Hayes “went to his brother’s assistance”.

Garda Daniel O’Riordan, Roxboro Road, who arrived on the scene along with Det Gda Landers in an unmarked garda patrol car, gave evidence he saw Kyle Hayes kicking a male on the street on the night.

Garda O’Riordan said he saw between 10-12 men fighting on the street.

One male was lying on the street covering his head with his hands and surrounded by three males, including Kyle Hayes, who were “raining kicks into him”, Garda O’Riordan said.

When asked by prosecution counsel John O’Sullivan BL if he was in any doubt that Kyle Hayes was kicking the man, Garda O’Riordan replied: “Absolutely no doubt”.

“I observed him draw back and kick a man who was lying on the ground, kicking forward into the man’s head and shoulder area twice.”

Garda O’Riordan said he saw Kyle Hayes break away from Det Landers’ grip of him and flee the scene.

He said he joined Det Landers in the chase along Upper Denmark Street, into High Street, past the Milk Market, through Mungret Street, and into a series of laneways at Watergate Flats.

Under cross examination by Mr McInerney, both Det Landers and Garda O’Riordan said they had not witnessed what had led to the attack on the male on the street, nor had they seen who had struck the first blow.

Gardaí agreed there was “chaos” and “shouting” and “roaring” and crowds of people on the street at the time.

Garda O’Riordan told Mr McInerney: “I’m not confused by what I saw, I saw Kyle Hayes.”