Barry Doyle, aged 25, with an address at Portland Row, Dublin, and Hyde Road, Limerick, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Geoghegan at Clonmore, Kilteragh, Dooradoyle, Co Limerick, in the early hours of November 9, 2008.
The opening day of the trial at the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin heard Mr Geoghegan had been shot in a case of mistaken identity as he walked home at around 1am after watching a rugby match on TV in a friend’s house in another part of the Kilteragh estate.
Prosecution barrister, Tom O’Connell SC, outlined how the victim was shot five times in the head and body by a gunman with a Glock semi-automatic pistol. Mr Geoghegan — a well-known figure in Limerick rugby circles as captain of Garryowen’s third team — had earlier that day also played a match for his club.
Mr O’Connell said the victim’s girlfriend, Jenna Barry, will tell the trial that she heard shots shortly after receiving a text from her boyfriend at 12.54am to say he would be home within 10 minutes.
Ms Barry claims she looked out her window to see a person wearing a navy hoodie getting into a space wagon.
The prosecution claims a Renault Espace, which was discovered on fire in a field about half a mile away in Rossbrien a short time later, was the getaway vehicle. It had been stolen a month earlier in the Castletroy region of Limerick and was also reportedly sighted over in the following weeks in Ballycummin near Dooradoyle.
Mr O’Connell said the State Pathologist, Dr Marie Cassidy, would give evidence that Mr Geoghegan was shot while facing away from his attacker. She will also claim that he would have collapsed and died quickly as a result of gunshot injuries to his head and trunk.
Garda forensic experts will describe how a number of bullet cartridges were found at several locations in the Kilteragh estate which suggested Mr Geoghegan had been chased by his attacker.
The trial heard Mr Geoghegan’s body was discovered in the back garden of another house in the estate by one of the first gardaí to arrive on the scene.
Doyle was arrested for the murder exactly a year ago today following a Garda search of a house at Hyde Road in Limerick.
Mr O’Connell told the court the accused had made admissions that he had shot Mr Geoghegan and he had been a passenger in the Renault Espace during a number of interviews with gardaí while in custody.
He also acknowledged the victim, whom he had never seen before that night, was not the intended target.
The trial heard Doyle left Limerick shortly after the killing and returned to Ireland at Christmas 2008.
Dressed in a dark grey suit and black shirt, Doyle spoke only once during the hearing to state “not guilty” when asked how he pleaded to the charge of murder.
The victim’s mother, Mary and his brother, Anthony, as well as Ms Barry, were in court yesterday for the opening day of the case.
The trial before Mr Justice Paul Carney and a jury of seven men and five women is expected to last up to four weeks.