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No end to family agony as jury fails to reach a verdict on tragic Shane

THEY have waited in a nightmarish limbo for almost two and a half years, but the heartbroken family of Garryowen rugby player Shane Geoghegan are today no closer to justice.

Following a four-week trial at the Central Criminal Court, a jury of six men and five women failed to reach a verdict on the alleged involvement of Barry Doyle in the ruthless killing.

The 25-year-old, of Portland Row in Dublin and Hyde Road in Limerick, told gardai two years ago that he was the man who pulled the trigger and ended Shane Geoghegan's life.



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He later retracted this confession. And, following almost 16 hours of deliberations over four days by a jury, they returned deadlocked, unable to point the finger of guilt at Barry Doyle.

On November 8, 2008, gentle giant Shane Geoghegan had captained his rugby team in a match against rivals Shannon. Later that day the 28-year-old went to a friend's house to watch a rugby match on TV.

And, shortly before 1am, he sent a text to his girlfriend Jenna Barry to tell her he was making the short journey home to their house in Dooradoyle.

He wasn't to know that he was walking straight into the path of his killer. A hooded figure advanced towards Shane and fired five bullets into him.

Three months after the murder, gardai arrived at Doyle's home. He was interviewed more than 15 times but initially denied any knowledge of or connection to the killing. While in custody, he was told that his girlfriend Victoria Gunnery, the mother of his baby daughter, had also been arrested. The couple's daughter had serious heart problems and was due to be brought to hospital

Doyle told gardai that he was the man who shot Shane Geoghegan. He drew a map, outlining the location of the killing and the spots where he claimed to have been standing when the shots were fired.

Despite this confession, Barry Doyle later pleaded not guilty. In court, his defence counsel Martin O'Rourke claimed his client had made a false confession.

He pointed out that gardai knew Doyle had a small child who was sick, and also knew that Doyle and Victoria Gunnery were in constant contact.

Mr O'Rourke said the evidence was overwhelming that Doyle had been "the victim of coercion, threats and promises".

afinneran@herald.ie