A SPANISH chef lost his sense of taste and had his skull reinforced with screws after being struck with a golf club and wooden samurai sword in a savage street assault.
Jorge Roca (40), from Valencia in Spain, insisted he still loves Ireland and Cork despite the unprovoked attack that left him fighting for his life.
Shane Cotter (20) of Annmount Cross, Friars Walk, Cork, who has 49 previous convictions, was jailed for three years for assault causing serious harm.
Danny O'Brien (20) of Brandon Court, Dillons Cross, Cork, who produced the golf club used by Cotter to attack Mr Roca and who has 84 previous convictions, was jailed for 18 months for violent disorder.
The Spaniard told the Irish Independent he was disappointed with the sentences. "I am not a judge. I am a chef. But that was not really very good," he said.
The two men were jailed by Cork Circuit Criminal Court for the attack on White Street on January 23 last year.
Cotter, who pleaded guilty, had insisted to the court he was solely responsible for the attack.
Both men publicly apologised to Mr Roca and his family.
Mr Roca, who has been resident in Ireland for almost five years, received a public apology last year from the Lord Mayor of Cork, Councillor Terry Shannon, amid an outcry over the attack on the group of foreign nationals.
Mr Shannon described the attack as "truly appalling" and said everyone had the right to walk safely in the city.
Mr Roca was walking home with three Spanish friends and one Romanian acquaintance when he was accosted by a group of seven men and women.
When the foreign nationals explained that they hadn't a cigarette to offer the group, the youngsters immediately became aggressive and a fracas erupted.
Mr Roca was first struck with a wooden samurai sword before Cotter hit him with a golf club over the head.
Cotter later told Gardai: "I wanted to do damage. I was in a temper. I wanted to kill him."
Mr Roca suffered a fractured skull and had to undergo emergency surgery at Cork University Hospital (CUH). He required 21 staples to the head wound and screws had to be used to reinforce his damaged skull.
The injury cost him his sense of taste and destroyed his hopes of becoming a top chef with the Spaniard now working in a deli.
Mr Roca has even changed his appearance so that he is not recognised around Cork city.
Judge Patrick Moran said:"It is a terrible thing (loss of taste) for anyone, let alone a chef."