Limerick hurler Kyle Hayes ordered to pay €10,000 compensation for violent disorder

Judge Dermot Sheehan imposes suspended sentence of two years

Limerick hurler Kyle Hayes has been ordered to pay €10,000 compensation for his role in a violent incident in a nightclub that left a man with serious facial injuries.

Judge Dermot Sheehan opted not to impose a custodial sentence on the 25-year-old, despite suggesting at an earlier hearing he had not ruled out a jail term.

Noting that Mr Hayes has a good job and “and is a man of some means”, Judge Sheehan ordered he pay €10,000 to the victim in the assault, Cillian McCarthy. Half is to be paid within four weeks and the rest paid before the end of September.

The judge also imposed a two-year sentence that he suspended in full for two years, noting society would not benefit if he were to impose an “immediate custodial sentence”.


Hayes (25), of Ballyashea, Kildimo, had pleaded not guilty to one count of assault causing harm to carpenter Cillian McCarthy (24) outside the Icon nightclub in Limerick on October 28th, 2019, as well as to two counts of violent disorder on the same night.

He was convicted on the violent disorder counts but acquitted of assault following a trial at Limerick Circuit Court last year.

Judge Sheehan noted Hayes, a five-time All-Ireland winner with the Limerick senior hurling team, is a talented sportsman who has shown leadership qualities.

However on the night of the attack, his leadership was used “for no other purpose” than to harass and attack Mr McCarthy whose only offence was not to be sufficiently submissive to the hurling star, the judge said.

He said none of the violence that night would have occurred if not for Hayes’s actions. The “catalyst” for the violence was Mr McCarthy talking to two women, one of whom was going out with a friend of Hayes.

The judge said Hayes felt entitled to “monitor and police” who spoke to the women. The hurler aggressively asked Mr McCarthy “do you know who the f**k I am” and threatened to “dig the head off you”.

Mr McCarthy left the area and went upstairs to the dance floor where he ran into the women again.

Shortly afterwards, Mr Hayes and others started attacking him and “raining down” punches before security intervened, the court heard.

The attack continued a short time later on the street outside. Members of Hayes’s group attacked Mr McCarthy and kicked him while he was on the ground. At the same time Hayes attacked another man, including by striking him in the head with “swinging” kicks, the judge noted.

Hayes had to be pulled off the victim. He ran from the scene when gardaí arrived but was detained a short time later. He denied any wrongdoing in interviews and said he could not remember much of the incident.

The judge observed Hayes was able to mention all the details of an intermediate hurling match he had lost earlier that day but not the violent attack that occurred later.

Judge Sheehan noted the “traumatic” impact of the attack on Mr McCarthy, who suffered a fracture to the bone around his eye socket. The victim was out of work for a time and can no longer drive at night due to vision issues.

The victim remains afraid to socialise in Limerick in case he meets his attackers and has not returned to sports since the incident, the judge said.

However, Judge Sheehan also noted testimony from several character witnesses, including Limerick hurling boss John Kiely who said Hayes was “trustworthy” and has matured since the incident.

The judge took into account Hayes’s lack of previous convictions and his “otherwise good character” as well as his charitable work.

Hayes, who has been on bail since his conviction last year, did not make any comment as he left Limerick courthouse following the sentencing.

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher is Crime and Security Correspondent of The Irish Times