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Murder accused allegedly heard boasting over hitting man

A 36-year-old man accused of murder was allegedly heard boasting that he had knocked a man out and was comparing himself to UFC fighter Conor McGregor.

Maurice Boland of Bridgeview Close, Tallow, Co Waterford admits manslaughter but denies the murder of Cian Gallagher after an encounter on Barrack Street in Tallow, Co Waterford in November 2022.

A jury at the Central Criminal Court was told that 26-year-old Cian Gallagher – who is from the Malahide Road in Dublin but was working on a construction project in the area – died from a brain bleed after he was allegedly punched and knocked to the ground by Mr Boland.

Maurice Boland later told gardaí it was a “pure accident”.

Prosecuting Counsel Roisin Lacey told the jury that on 1 November, 2022 Maurice Boland had been drinking in two pubs in Lismore and got a bus home to Tallow.

She said Cian Gallagher had gone for food with colleagues and afterwards went alone to a bar. When he left he was on Barrack Street when Maurice Boland got off the bus.

She said CCTV footage showed Maurice Boland cross the road to where Cian Gallagher was, but there was no CCTV footage from that side of the road. The footage then showed the two men crossing back to the other side of the road. She said the footage showed “an altercation” during which Mr Boland could be seen in the action of punching Mr Gallagher who had his hands up and was backing away.

She said at one point a punch was thrown by Maurice Boland and when it connected it caused Cian Gallagher to fall to the ground. “He did not get up again,” she said.

She said the CCTV showed the accused made some attempts to lift Cian Gallagher off the ground. A car appeared but reversed away before a second car appeared and three men got out and attempted to help lift Mr Gallagher off the road and bring him to the side while an ambulance was called.

The jury was told it will hear evidence from those men about the state of Mr Boland’s intoxication and what they say they heard him say.

Ms Lacey said the jury will hear evidence that Maurice Boland was comparing himself to the UFC fighter Conor McGregor and was bragging about it.

She said one of the witnesses would say Mr Boland “said he had knocked him out and was bragging that he had knocked him out and that he should have been a fighter like Conor McGregor”.

She said the jury would also hear evidence that Mr Boland told gardaí at the scene “he swiped at me, I ducked and I hit him. He met me on the street and asked me to follow him, he said he had drink, he was on to me about the Russians”.

After his arrest he was taken to Dungarvan Garda station but was deemed unfit for interview due to intoxication.

The jury was told that in interviews the next day he told gardaí that he got off the bus and met a lad he did not know who asked him back to his place for drink.

He said something was said about the Russians and that Cian Gallagher attacked him and that he hit him once and knocked him to the ground. He told gardaí it was a “pure accident”.

When shown the CCTV he accepted he was the person wearing the red top and said Cian Gallagher must have hit him before that.

The jury heard Mr Gallagher was deeply unconscious at the scene and was taken to Cork University Hospital where he was treated for a brain bleed which had been caused by an impact injury to the back of his head.

He did not regain consciousness and died on 10 November. Cause of death was determined to have been due to a brain injury connected to the fall seen on CCTV with pneumonia as a contributory factor.

Ms Lacey told the jury that while Maurice Boland accepts responsibility for the unlawful death of Cian Gallagher, he denies the charge of murder and therefore intent will be a key issue in the trial which is expected to last for two weeks.

Mr Gallagher’s employer Colm Kelly said he had been working for him for three or four years and was honest and hard working and “a privilege to have working for me”.

He said Mr Gallagher was staying in accommodation provided locally but there was no drink on the premises. He agreed with prosecuting counsel that Mr Gallagher was in a managerial type role and worked mainly on civil construction projects.

During cross-examination he was asked by defence counsel Michael Bowman if Mr Gallagher was “easy company who was happy to talk to people he did not know?”.

Mr Kelly replied that he was “polite and nice to everyone”.

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