Sunday 25 September 2016

Buncrana hero Davitt Walsh given guard of honour as he returns to football six weeks on from pier tragedy

Ryan Nugent

Published 01/05/2016 | 20:59

Davitt Walsh, inset the guard of honour given to him by Fanad Utd F.C
Davitt Walsh, inset the guard of honour given to him by Fanad Utd F.C
The guard of honour given to Buncrana hero Davitt Walsh

HERO Davitt Walsh who saved a baby during a tragic drowning incident in Donegal six weeks ago was given a guard of honour for his acts by his teammates and opponents on his return to football today.

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Mr Walsh risked his life by saving baby, Rioghnach-Ann McGrotty from drowning after her two brothers, father, aunt and grandmother all lost their lives in the devastating pier tragedy in Buncrana on 20 March.

The baby was the only survivor of the tragedy.

Mr Walsh (28) was clapped onto the pitch by his club-mates at Fanad United Football Club, along with opposition Derry City in Letterkenny.

Photo: North West Newspix
Photo: North West Newspix

A club statement read: "Today we played our first match since the tragic events in Buncrana 6 weeks ago. It gave the club the opportunity to honour Davitt Walsh for his act of heroism that day.

Read More: 'I look forward to being a part of beautiful baby Rioghnach-Ann's life' - Buncrana hero Davitt Walsh

"It was especially poignant as the game came against Derry City, the club so closely linked to that day in the fact that Josh Daniels the uncle of little Riognach Anne plays for the club. Everyone at Fanad is immensely proud of Davitt and Stephanie for their actions that day."

Last month, Mr Walsh said he was looking forward to being a part of the life of "beautiful" Baby Rioghnach-Ann.

Unimaginable grief: Louise James with partner Sean McGrotty, sons Mark and Evan and baby Rioghnach-Ann who was saved Photo: Family Handout/PA Wire
Unimaginable grief: Louise James with partner Sean McGrotty, sons Mark and Evan and baby Rioghnach-Ann who was saved Photo: Family Handout/PA Wire

Read More: Buncrana hero and pier tragedy mum to take part in charity marathon together

The 28-year-old saved the life of the four-month old baby after jumping into the freezing Lough Swilly after the car in which her family were travelling in went underwater.

Sean McGrotty, 46, his sons Evan (8) and 12-year-old Mark, Ruth Daniels (57) and 14-year-old Jodie Lee Daniels all drowned in the tragedy.

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