Belfast Telegraph

Man charged with murdering rugby captain in row after Ireland's Six Nations win

By Andrew Phelan

A Dublin man has been charged with murdering a former captain of one of the city's best known rugby clubs following a row after the Six Nations match.

Gary Walsh (31) appeared in court today accused of killing Cathal Sweeney at a house in Terenure, where he had been watching Saturday's game.

It is believed a row broke out at the house some time after the Ireland and Wales rugby match finished.

Mr Sweeney, a father-of-three and former captain of St Mary's Rugby Club Templeogue, suffered serious head injuries and died later in hospital.

Mr Walsh was remanded in custody after Dublin District Court heard he made no reply to the charge when it was put to him.

Mr Walsh, with an address at Ravensdale, Kimmage, is charged with murdering Mr Sweeney at Ashdale Gardens, Terenure on February 8 last.

Detective Sergeant Joe Sweeney told Judge Michael Walsh he arrested the defendant at Terenure Garda Station at 12.01am this morning.

He was present when the accused was charged and said "no reply" after caution. Det Sgt Molloy applied for the accused to be remanded in custody.

Defence Solicitor Michael Hanahoe consented to this. No bail application can be made at District Court level on a murder charge.

Judge Walsh also granted legal aid in the case after gardai made no objections. The defendant, wearing a grey overcoat, blue jeans and runners, did not address the court during the brief hearing.

Following the incident on Saturday, emergency services were alerted and gardai and paramedics arrived at the property -- one of a number of converted flats -- just before 6pm.

A number of calls had been received, including from neighbours who reported hearing sounds of a disturbance and shouting coming from the flat.

Mr Sweeney was treated at the scene and then taken by ambulance to St James's Hospital. He had sustained serious head injuries and died shortly after arrival at the hospital.

Mr Sweeney was a talented commercial and graphic artist but it is understood he had been out of work for a period and in receipt of disability benefit.

He was described by friends at the Terenure Inn, where he was a regular, as a "quiet and gentle man".

Mr Sweeney lived in an apartment on the South Circular Road, opposite the old Player Wills factory.

He separated from his wife many years ago. He was the father of three children, two sons and a daughter.

Mr Sweeney is the father of former Dublin senior hurling captain David Sweeney, a star player with Ballyboden St Enda's. He captained the county side in 2003.

A spokesman for Ballyboden St Enda's GAA Club said: "The club sends deepest sympathy to the family. Our thoughts are with them at this tragic time."

Tributes were paid by members of his former club, St Mary's, where his brother JB Sweeney was also a former captain and his two nephews Richie and Robert still play.

Club stalwart D O'Brien said: "Cathal was a lovely man, a fine rugby player and very talented athlete in his younger days. He played at full back and on the wing and was a very impressive figure -- tall with a shock of blond hair.

"He will be missed by those who knew him. He was a senior player and club captain in the 1970s. He was also a very fine commercial artist. His father was a well-known athletics coach."

Belfast Telegraph Digital


From Belfast Telegraph