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Corbally gang man escaped gunmen on his quad bike

THE gangland killers of the Corbally brothers botched a hit on 'Guinea Pig' Desmond shortly before murdering the pair.

The Herald can today reveal how Mark Desmond sped for his life on a quad bike as a gunman opened fire on him.

Desmond, an associate of the Corballys in the bloody Ballyfermot feud, fled when he saw the assassin in the distance. At least one shot was fired.

Detectives believe the attack was carried out by the same gang that murdered the Corballys in a hail of bullets last week -- and was in retaliation for the 2000 canal murders Desmond was charged with.

But the attempted hit also served to reignite the feud between the Corbally gang and their rivals, led by a Ballyfermot drug dealer.

Desmond (35) managed to escape from his attackers on a quad bike when they approached him in Memorial Park, Ballyfermot in the last week in April.

The Guinea Pig, who was the only man to have been charged in the "canal murders" investigation, recognised his attackers and sped off before he was hit.

The attempted hit was not reported to gardai at the time, but was enough to bring gang tensions to boiling point.

The attempted assassination incensed the Corbally brothers who were involved in a retaliatory attack on the person they suspected of being the Memorial Park hitman.


They formed a four-man team with two associates and attacked the suspect while he was sitting in a vehicle in west Dublin in early May.

The victim was stabbed repeatedly and received a number of serious wounds, while his vehicle was completely smashed up.

Gardai arrived at the scene but no formal complaint was made. The Ballyfermot gang decided to gain their own form of justice. Shortly afterwards, the Corbally's effectively signed their own death warrants when they tried to take out the boss of the rival gang in a gun attack in Bluebell.

The gang boss was livid and, according to intelligence reports, took out a €40k contract to the have the crime brothers taken out, with a bonus if both men were taken out.

The Mark Desmond connection has emerged as part of the major investigation into the Corbally's killing.

Desmond achieved notoriety when the DPP dropped a murder charge in the days leading up to the so-called 'canal butcher' case. Darren Carey and Patrick Murray aged 19 and 20, were shot in the head and their bodies dumped in the Grand Canal in Co Kildare around New Year 2000.

Desmond, from Lally Road in Ballyfermot, was later convicted of unlawful possession of four guns and one shotgun cartridge with intent to endanger life between October 1, 1999 and February 17, 2000. But no one has been convicted of the murders.

A source told the Herald: "The Desmond hit was not known about until recently. He was spinning around Memorial Park on a quad, then he was approached and a shot fired.

"Desmond would have had links to the Corballys and it seems that this incident could have set off the feud again."


The origins of the dispute can be traced back to 20-man brawl outside a pub in September 2009 in which British man Jason Lee Martin (39) -- a pal of the Corballys -- was killed.

It simmered since then but erupted again with the double murder of Paul and Kenneth Corbally on June 28 last when two balaclava-clad hit-men jumped out of an Audi S6 and riddled their Lexus car with up to a dozen bullets on the Neilstown Road in Clondalkin.

A 14-year-old teenager who was in the back of the Lexus when the gunmen opened fire was injured when he was shot three times but he managed to flee.He is now under garda protection after his mother said there was a threat to his life.

Specialist gardai monitored the Corballys for three weeks before their murders - but were called off when the hits didn't occur. The double murder investigation is continuing.