Friday 19 December 2014

Rebels 'gutted' as Tipp thrill in big
 Croker showdown

Danielle Stephens

Published 18/08/2014 | 02:30

Tipperary fan Shauna Tooher, Cork fan Liz Power and Tipperary fan Mary Ryan at the All Ireland Hurling Semi Final between Cork and Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin. Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins
Tipperary fan Shauna Tooher, Cork fan Liz Power and Tipperary fan Mary Ryan at the All Ireland Hurling Semi Final between Cork and Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Joe Murray (left) and Sgt Vinnie Flanagan with Pat O'Connor, Mallow, whose life they saved last year when he had a heart attack outside Croke Park
Tipperary supporters David Stanley (7) and his brother Conor (4), from Gortnahoe Glengoole GAA Club, at the game. Picture: Sportsfile

It might have been a disappointing result for the men in red, but it was a miracle that one man was even at Croke Park to see them play.

Nearly one year ago Pat O'Connor (33) from Castlekevin in Cork suffered a heart attack on his way into Croke Park.

For the first time Mr O'Connor met the two men who saved his life nearly a year ago.

Sgt Vinnie Flanagan and steward Joe Murray were working for the All-Ireland Senior Ladies football finals last year, when they saw a man on the ground.

Mr O'Connor had complained about feeling unwell when he travelled up to the capital the day before the match.

He collapsed on the street right outside Gill's Corner House pub on the corner of Russell Street.

He now considers it lucky that he fell at that exact place because Sgt Flanagan and Mr Murray jumped into action.

The owner of the pub, Robin Gill, had a defibrillator on site and the three men performed CPR, until the emergency services arrived.

Sgt Flanagan was honoured at the Pride of Ireland Awards, as this was the second time he had saved someone's life.

Mr O'Connor doesn't remember what happened, but he was happy he got the chance to meet the men who saved him.

"Even though I'm gutted today didn't go so well, because of them I'll be able to go to many more All-Ireland matches in the future," said Mr O'Connor.

Meanwhile, a see of blue and yellow filled the streets chanting and celebrating their team's big win. Aaron (6) and Seanie (4) Quinlan, from Thurles enjoyed their first trip to Croke Park. Mum Siobhan said they hopes to return for the final.

Doreen Byrne, from Tipperary town, said her county deserved the win after years of waiting. "We've started now, we may as well finish it," she said.

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