Thursday 17 January 2019

GAA star wakes up from coma after attack on street

Daniel O'Reilly pictured in action for Laois. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Daniel O'Reilly pictured in action for Laois. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

A GAA star who suffered serious head injuries in a violent assault awoke briefly from a coma to speak to his family, it has emerged.

Laois inter-county player Daniel O'Reilly has been in an induced coma since he was attacked at a taxi rank in the Potato Market area of Carlow town at 1am on Monday following a night out.

The 21-year-old suffered multiple fractures to his skull and was taken to St Luke's Hospital in Kilkenny. He was placed in an induced coma but new hope has emerged for the talented footballer after he briefly awoke on Tuesday night.

A source close to the family told the Irish Independent that Mr O'Reilly was able to communicate with his mother before falling back asleep.

"I'm sure it was a big relief to his family, but his condition is still serious.

"He woke up for a brief period and talked for a little to his mum before he fell back asleep.

"They expect to leave him in intensive care for a day or two because they have more brain scans to do.

"Hopefully, it will be onwards and upwards from here," the source added.

It is understood the father of one was randomly attacked, fell and hit his head off the pavement as he was getting a taxi. Gardaí are continuing to investigate the possible motive for the assault.

On Tuesday two men, both aged in their twenties, were arrested in connection with the incident.

The arrested men are being detained in Kilkenny and Thomastown Garda stations under the provisions of Section 4 - Criminal Justice Act 1984.

Mr O'Reilly came on as a substitute as Laois claimed the Division 4 football title last Saturday in Croke Park. Tributes and well-wishes have poured in for the Graiguecullen native since the incident.

Graiguecullen Cathaoirleach Cllr John Moran said: "We're all devastated at what happened. Daniel is such a nice, quiet lad and didn't deserve to be the victim of such a brutal assault - you wouldn't treat a dog this way. I hope the people who did this to him are found and punished to the full extent of the law."

Laois GAA also extended its support.

Peter O'Neill, chairman of Laois CLG, said: "Our thoughts and those of all our players and supporters are with Daniel, his family and club.

"We wish him a full recovery and Laois GAA will help in any way we can."

Graiguecullen GAA club said its members were "heartbroken and devastated" with the news of Mr O'Reilly's injuries.

"The matter is under investigation, so please respect the authorities."

Gardaí are using CCTV footage in their investigation and are continuing to appeal for any witnesses.

Anyone with information is ask to contact Carlow Garda Station on 059-9136620 or to contact the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.

Two men will appear at Carlow District Court this morning in connection with the incident.

Irish Independent

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