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Thursday 23 November 2017

'I was playing hard man', said Hendrick pal after his arrest

Ireland footballer Jeff Hendrick
Ireland footballer Jeff Hendrick

A friend of Ireland football star Jeff Hendrick admitted to chasing an alleged victim up a laneway and sitting on him, a court has heard.

Burnley midfielder Mr Hendrick (25), originally from Artane but now living in the UK, and a co-accused, Jonathan Doran (26), have both pleaded not guilty to violent disorder at Harcourt Street, Dublin, on October 12, 2013.

Mr Doran is also charged with assaulting Darren McDermott causing him harm, which he has denied.

Mr McDermott has given evidence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that Mr Hendrick dragged him from a taxi outside Krystle nightclub shortly after a row inside the club.

Fell

He told the trial jury that he ended up on the ground and suffered kicks to his head, face, chest and back.

After his arrest, Mr Doran told gardai that he told Mr McDermott to "f***ing sort it out".

Sergeant Damian Beakey told the court that Mr Doran said in interview: "The reason I said 'sort it out' is because, a lot of the time, people come up to Jeff and, if he doesn't say hello, people call him an ignorant p***k just because he's a footballer."

Mr Doran denied punching or kicking Mr McDermott, but has admitted chasing him up a laneway and sitting on him.

Mr Doran told gardai: "I didn't actually expect to catch him, but he fell.

"I was playing the hard man. It's like a dog chasing a car - he wouldn't know what to do when he caught up with it.

"I just wanted to chase him to make it look like I cared."

The court also heard from witness Shannon Farrell, who went to the assistance of Mr McDermott.

Ms Farrell said she and a friend were passing by in a rickshaw when they saw a group of people beating up a man on Montague Street.

She said she saw Mr McDermott on the ground with a lot of blood on his shirt.

"He looked like he'd been badly beaten up," she added.

The two women helped the man to get up and then spoke to gardai when they arrived. Neither of the women knew any of the people involved.

Judge Nolan said to Ms Farrell: "You were very brave."

In his closing speech to the jury, Sean Gillane, defending Mr Hendrick, said it seemed to be a "thing of interest" that his client played football.

"I'd ask you to put this out of your mind," said Mr Gillane, adding that he too had wanted as a youngster to take the boat to England to play football.

Mr Gillane cited what someone had said to him at the time, that "talent is not worthy of respect" and said Mr Hendrick had not reached his current position because of talent.

"He's where he is because of application, diligence and the distinction with which he carries himself from the day he got that boat when he was 16, to where he is now," he said.

Judge Martin Nolan also asked the jury to "bring their common sense" to the trial.

"Many of us like football; many of us like Premier footballers, and many of us don't; but Mr Hendrick is entitled to a fair and impartial trial," he said in his charge to the jury.

Fractured

In his closing speech to the jury, Diarmuid Collins, prosecuting, said there was no dispute that Mr McDermott was assaulted and suffered multiple serious injuries including a fractured jaw.

He asked the jury whether it was realistic that Mr McDermott might have "misidentified" Mr Hendrick as being the man who had pulled him out of a taxi.

He said Mr McDermott was "into football himself" and that one of the men chasing him "happened to be a professional footballer playing for the Republic of Ireland... do you think he's going to misidentify him?"

Mr Gillane told the jurors that they were relying on Mr McDermott's evidence alone, and that it was like listening to "the sound of one hand clapping".

Judge Nolan will resume his charge to the jury this morning before they are sent out to begin deliberating a verdict.

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