A Shelbourne football fan is to be sentenced later after he punched and kicked a 16-year old Cork City fan causing serious head injuries during a post-match brawl.
Peter Mullen (21) pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting Daniel Hegarty and causing him harm at Drumcondra Road Lower on May 14, 2011.
Mullen of Tolka Road, Ballybough, Dublin was 18 years old at the time of the assault. He has no previous convictions.
Mr Hegarty had travelled from his home in Cork with his brother and some friends to go to a football match between Cork City and Shelbourne FC at Tolka Park.
He was knocked unconscious during the brawl after the match and when he woke up in hospital a few days later, he couldn't remember anything about it.
In a victim impact report presented in court, his family say he has had difficulty remembering things since.
Detective Garda Fergal Flynn told Lisa Dempsey BL, prosecuting, that gardaí found a large group of youths fighting across from Fagan's Pub in Drumcondra at about 10pm.
Mr Hegarty was lying unconscious on his back beside a bus being treated by ambulance staff.
He had substantial obvious head and facial injuries and his right eye was swollen shut.
His reading on the Glasgow Coma Scale was measured at 3, which indicates deep unconsciousness and is the lowest possible level on the scale.
The victim had fluid in his lungs and was struggling to breath. When medics cleared his airways he vomited and coughed up blood.
He was taken to the Mater Hospital where a brain scan showed internal bleeding. When he regained consciousness after a few days he got severe headaches.
A medical report said he suffered serious head and eye injuries but did not require surgery.
Mullen was arrested in September 2011 and told gardaí he had hit Mr Hegarty three times in the face and kicked him once.
He said Mr Hegarty had thrown the first punch at him.
Mullen said the trouble began at half-time, when he went to Abrakebabra and a bunch of Cork lads began shouting at him.
He said about 12 Cork fans were standing and sitting on a wall and a young lad among them took off his tee-shirt and started swinging it around and saying “Let's have it.”
Mullen said the same young man came over to their side of the fence and shouted “Here's the lads,” whereupon the Cork fans started throwing bottles, bricks, cones and “anything they could get their hands on” at him.
Mullen said himself and his friends started to “leg it”, running backwards while laughing at the Cork boys and giving them the fingers.
He went back and watched the second half of the match but felt “angry and nervous”. “We got battered and they had no right to start a fight,” he said.
After the match, a group of Shelbourne fans met some Cork City fans on Richmond Road and a fight broke out.
Mullen said he threw a rock “just to scare them”.
He said the young man who had taken his tee-shirt off earlier grabbed a Shelbourne lad and as the pair was wrestling, he got into the middle and got punched.
He said Mr Hegarty hit him above his right eye and that he responded by hitting him twice. They both fell onto the ground and Mullen said he shattered his knee in the fall.
He admitted kicking the victim on his chin but said it was “more of a stumbled kick” that wasn't full force.
He told gardaí he felt sick the next day and was very grateful to hear that Mr Hegarty was ok.
Luigi Rea BL, defending, said Mullen has a very good work record and has FETAC awards and qualifications in security, manual handling, forklift driving and warehousing.
An employer's reference described him as an excellent worker.
Judge Mary Ellen Ring took account of Mullen's cooperation with gardaí and his low risk of reoffending.
She said it was a very serious offence that could have left the victim permanently disabled if not worse.
Judge Ring also noted that people with a Glasgow Coma Scale of 3 often do not come out of unconsciousness.
She adjourned the matter for sentencing on May 15.