Limerick hurler Kyle Hayes ‘can expect custodial sentence’ after conviction for violent disorder

Five-time All-Ireland winner is acquitted of assault causing harm to man at Limerick nightclub but found guilty on two other charges

The judge in the trial of Kyle Hayes has told the five-time All-Ireland-winning Limerick hurler that he is facing the prospect of a custodial sentence after he was convicted by a jury of two counts of violent disorder.

Judge Dermot Sheehan said Hayes’s use or threatened use of violence on the dance floor of the Icon nightclub in Limerick city on October 28th, 2019, was “extremely dangerous” to the large numbers of people who were present on the night.

The judge said the conviction of Hayes (25), of Ballyashea, Kildimo, for “serious matters” meant his “status” before the courts had “changed” and he “can expect a custodial sentence”.

The judge said convictions on contested charges of violent disorder would “usually” be dealt with by way of an immediate remand in custody, but he agreed to an application by Hayes’s barrister, Brian McInerney SC, for “a remand on bail”.


The judge told Mr McInerney not to take his decision to grant bail as how he intended to dispose of the sentence.

The judge told Mr McInerney he was “making no promises” and that the barrister now had an opportunity to seek “testimonials” on behalf of Hayes which the court would consider prior to sentencing.

The jury of seven men and five women acquitted Hayes of a charge, which he also denied, of assault causing harm to Cillian McCarthy (24), from Ballysimon, outside the Icon nightclub on the same date as the violent disorder.

The two-week trial heard allegations that Hayes and others had attacked Mr McCarthy on the dance floor of the Icon, repeatedly punching him in the head, after Hayes had earlier told Mr McCarthy and his friend Craig Cosgrave to “stay the f*** away” from two women, who were friends of the two men.

Mr Cosgrave (24), who the court heard was trying to defend Mr McCarthy during the brawl, was acquitted of a charge of violent disorder.

Mr McCarthy gave evidence that Hayes had been “aggressive” and had shouted at him “Do you know who the f*** I am?” after Mr McCarthy tried to explain that he and Mr Cosgrave were just talking to two women, one of whom was seeing a friend of Hayes.

A number of witnesses told the court they saw Mr McCarthy with blood on his face and a swollen eye outside the club after the brawl.

They said Mr McCarthy told them that Hayes had attacked him inside the club and that he was waiting for his friend, Mr Cosgrave, to come out of the club.

The prosecution claimed Mr McCarthy rushed to Mr Cosgrave’s aid after he was set upon by a group of men outside the club. It alleged Hayes and others chased Mr McCarthy along Upper Denmark Street before they punched, kicked and stamped on him as he lay on the ground.

Two gardaí told the court that when they arrived on scene they saw Hayes kicking a man on the ground.

One of the officers, Det Garda Dean Landers of Roxboro Road Garda station, said he had identified himself as a garda to Hayes and told him to stay where he was while holding him at the scene.

“He [Kyle Hayes] told me to f*** off, he pulled his arm, at force, away from my grip and he turned and ran,” Det Garda Landers told the court.

He said he had repeatedly shouted after Hayes “gardaí, stop”, but Hayes had kept running. The Limerick hurler was eventually apprehended by Det Garda Landers several streets away.

Garda Daniel O’Riordan also gave an account of seeing Hayes kicking a man on the ground on the night.

He said he had “absolutely no doubt” it was Kyle Hayes “kicking forward into the man’s head and shoulder area, twice”.

The garda agreed there was no CCTV footage of the alleged attack on Upper Denmark Street, and they accepted there was “chaos” and “confusion” on the street, as hundreds of people spilled out of the nightclub.

Hayes admitted in interviews that he ran from gardaí, telling them: “I just wanted to get out of there, I didn’t want to get dragged into it.”

Hayes denied assaulting Mr McCarthy but told gardaí he eventually stopped running from them because he feared it would have “made me look guilty”.

Following his conviction, Hayes was remanded on bail of his own bond of €100 and with strict conditions to appear before Limerick Circuit Criminal Court for sentencing on January 19th, 2024.

Hayes agreed to give gardaí his passport and not apply for any new travel documents, obey a nightly curfew of 10.30pm-6am and not commit any further offences while on bail.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Cosgrave, who was embraced by his family, said he was “delighted” he had been found not guilty and all he had done was try to “protect” himself and his friend.

Mr Cosgrave, who said he had just graduated from college and planned to pursue a job in engineering, said: “I’m delighted it’s all over, it’s been a very overwhelming two weeks and I’m delighted I’ve been found innocent. A not-guilty verdict was the right result, so I’m pleased with that.”