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Saturday 19 August 2017

Former footballer wakes from coma after assault

Louise Roseingrave

A FORMER Cork footballer is recovering in a US hospital following an assault that left him in a coma.

Damien O'Neill (37), a talented former midfielder for Cork, woke from a coma yesterday to the delight of his friends and family.

The father of four was in Boston attending the wedding of his brother-in-law when the incident occurred over the weekend.

His father Terry O'Neill -- a selector with the Cork senior football team -- said he was shocked when he received the news as he travelled to Dublin with the Cork team on Saturday.

Damien fell into a coma after an assault that is understood to have taken place in downtown Boston on Friday night.

"He was in a coma but thankfully now he is coming out of it, and we are so pleased and very relieved to hear it," he added.

Damien had travelled to Boston and rented a house south of the coastal city of Quincy for a two-week break with his wife Valerie and four children.

He had planned the holiday to coincide with his wife's brother's wedding, his father said.

Damien has made significant progress despite his injuries and doctors are hopeful he will soon be well enough to be discharged from hospital.

"He was bad for a while but the doctors are now saying that they hope to be in a position to release him in two weeks' time," Mr O'Neill said.

Damien, a Bantry native, is a director of a local construction company.

He graduated to become a valued midfielder for the Cork senior side during the mid-1990s after playing for his county at minor and under-21 levels, winning All-Ireland medals at both.

Irish Independent

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