LIMERICK rugby player Shane Geoghegan (28) died from a gunshot wound to the back of his head as he desperately tried to run to safety from an armed assailant.
The revelation came as members of the Geoghegan family held hands as they listened in silence to a Limerick coroner's inquest into Shane's killing on November 9 2008.
The Garryowen rugby player was shot a total of five times as he walked to his Clonmore home in Dooradoyle after having been out socialising.
Two men, John Dundon and Barry Doyle, are now serving life sentences for the murder of Mr Geoghegan.
The Central Criminal Court and the Special Criminal Court have heard that the rugby star was shot in a case of mistaken identity after the gunman confused him with another man who lived in the same area.
The inquest was attended today (Wednesday) by Shane's mother, Mary, his brother, Anthony, his aunt, Margaret Walsh, and his girlfriend, Jenna Barry.
Coroner Dr Anthony Casey read out a post mortem examination report by Dr Marie Cassidy.
She examined Mr Geoghegan at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Limerick on November 9 and found that he had been shot five times.
The fatal wound - a gunshot to the back of his head - was most likely inflicted as he fled from his attacker after having already been shot four times.
The attack occurred just metres from Mr Geoghegan's home along a stretch of roadway where the street light was broken.
Dr Casey heard that the gunshot wound to the back of Mr Geoghegan's head pierced his brain stem before the bullet lodged behind his eye socket.
Fragments of bone were driven into the brain and Dr Casey was told that the injury would have immediately immobilised Mr Geoghegan.
He would have died within a short time from the wound.
Mr Geoghegan also suffered four other gunshot wounds to the trunk, arm and back.
One bullet pierced his stomach and resulted in bruising to his liver.
Another pierced his right lung.
In accordance with Dr Casey's direction, the jury returned a verdict of murder.
Dr Casey extended his deepest sympathies to the Geoghegan family.
"This is every family's worst nightmare," he said.
Shane's mother, Mary, paid tribute to everyone who has supported the family.
"I would like to say thank you," she said.