Pubdate: Mon, 10 Nov 2008
Source: Irish Times, The (Ireland)
Copyright: 2008 The Irish Times


BACKGROUND: Shane Geoghegan was shot dead because his killers mistook 
him for the man they were sent to murder, writes Conor Lally Crime 

THE KILLING of Shane Geoghegan by one of Limerick's gangs is the most 
tragic development in the city's drugs feud since the murder of 
nightclub security man Brian Fitzgerald in 2002.

Both men were shot dead at point blank range close to their homes. 
Like Mr Fitzgerald, the early indications are that Mr Geoghegan tried 
in vain to run from his armed attackers.

Both were big men described by those who knew them as loving and 
valued members of their communities. And both died young in acts of 
extreme violence.

Brian Fitzgerald's life was taken from him because he wouldn't let 
members of the McCarthy-Dundon gang sell drugs in the nightclub where 
he worked.

Shane Geoghegan was killed by gang members who mistook him for 
another man they were sent to murder. One of his club mates at 
Garryowen Rugby Club, where he captained the thirds team, told The 
Irish Times Mr Geoghegan was "one of those people who are the heart 
and soul of any club".

"He was a great guy, a very loyal teammate and a loyal club man. He 
was a spiritual leader to the players around him. We just can't 
believe what's after happening. We're thinking about his family now."

Mr Geoghegan was a talented player who had led his team to victory in 
the Gleeson League final last March. He had played a league game on 
Saturday afternoon against Shannon Rugby Club, and was dead around 12 
hours later. He was the 14th person to die at the hands of Limerick's 
feuding gangs since the feuding began in earnest with the murder of 
drug dealer Eddie Ryan eight years ago.

But while most of those murdered have been senior figures in the 
feud, some, like Shane Geoghegan and Brian Fitzgerald, have been 
innocent men victimised by those who try to rule their communities 
through gun law and beatings.

In March 2006, 17-year-old Richard "Happy" Kelly was shot dead, his 
body weighed down with bricks and dumped in Lough Brigid in east 
Clare. He was found last December when an angler's line became 
entangled in his skeletal remains.

A petty criminal, the act that sealed his fate was stealing a car 
which was, unknown to him, owned by one of the gangs and contained 
drugs and guns. All his mother Mary Kelly was left with was the 
closure that the discovery of her son's remains brought.

On November 4th, 2005, another innocent Limerick family had murder 
and grief thrust upon them by feuding criminals.

An 18-year-old apprentice electrician, Darren Coughlan, was walking 
home after a night out when three teenagers mistook him for somebody 
else and beat and kicked him to death.

One of those convicted of the manslaughter, Joseph Keane (19), 
laughed as he left the court. He is the son of Kieran Keane, a leader 
of one of the feuding gangs who was shot dead in January 2003.

Darren's mother, Bernadette, told how her dying son had rung his 
10-year-old sister looking for help on the night he died. "These 
senseless killings of innocent people must stop," she said at the time.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom