Belfast Telegraph

Down GAA player Caolan Mooney thankful for support following assault

Man charged over incident

Caolan Mooney
Caolan Mooney

A Down GAA player who was hospitalised following an assault has thanked friends and fans for their support.

It comes as police charged a man in connection with the incident.

Caolan Mooney (26) was attacked alongside his brother Patrick near the Canal Court Hotel in the early hours of Monday morning.

Mr Mooney had only returned from playing in Down's McKenna Cup win over Fermanagh hours earlier.

The Ambulance Service was called to the scene on Merchant's Quay shortly before 2.30am following reports of a man with a head injury.

Mr Mooney, who works as a personal trainer, was taken to the nearby Daisy Hill Hospital but later transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital as he had suffered a bleed on his brain.

On Tuesday night, the GAA player tweeted a picture from his hospital bed showing injuries to his face.

"Thanks everyone for their messages, scan in the morning to see if my brain has stopped bleeding. But happy new year everyone," he said.

A 37-year-old man has appeared in court charged in relation to the assault on 32-year-old Patrick Mooney, who suffered a broken nose.

Lee Daniel McKay, who lives in Australia but has an address at Drumalane Park in Newry, was charged with affray and grievous bodily harm with intent.

The court heard that CCTV footage allegedly showed Mr McKay hitting Patrick Mooney, but not delivering the blow that left Caolan Mooney unconcious.

Mr McKay was granted bail, on the basis that he surrenders his passport and is subject to a curfew, and will appear in court again at a later date.

On Wednesday morning, a second man (35) was charged with affray, grievous bodily harm and assault occasioning actual bodily harm in connection with the incident.

He is due to appear before Newry Magistrates' Court on January 22.

A former Down minor star, Caolan Mooney left Northern Ireland in 2011 for Australia to play Aussie Rules football for Melbourne side Collingwood.

He returned to play fro Down in 2014.

Down manager Paddy Tally said the team were "shocked and saddened" by the assault.

"Given the seriousness of the situation, we ask people to refrain from speculation or rumour about the incident. Caolan is a very important player and important leader in our team," he said.

"He is vice-captain, he had an excellent year this year and we’re looking forward to him being back playing in Down colours as soon as possible.

"We hope and pray that he makes a full recovery and our thoughts are with his fiancée and his entire family at this time. Their welfare and their right to privacy should be fully respected."

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