Thursday 12 December 2019

Dublin football star is stabbed in attack after night out

Dublin's Jonny Cooper
Dublin's Jonny Cooper

Jim Cusack

Dublin GAA star Jonny Cooper was lucky not to have been killed after a mugger brutally slashed his face and neck early yesterday.

The inter-county defender was on Dublin's Dorset Street shortly after 5am when he was approached by the robber who demanded his wallet.

CCTV of Dublin football star Jonny Cooper being attacked and stabbed
CCTV of Dublin football star Jonny Cooper being attacked and stabbed

The horrific attack, in which the footballer was stabbed up to a dozen times as he sat on a doorstep, took place as he made his way home from a night out in the city centre.

CCTV images of the attack show the young Gaelic star making his way along Dorset Street shadowed by the robber on the other side of the road. As Cooper (24) stops for a rest on the steps, the robber comes up and, standing over him, repeatedly stabs him in the left side of his neck, face and shoulder.

The footballer, dazed by the attack is unable to protect himself. The robber then rifles through Cooper's jeans pockets before running off and turning into Eccles Street. The attack could have killed Cooper who was suffered several wounds to his neck but has made a remarkable recovery.

The robber, who has dark thinning hair, can be seen clearly as he flees the scene.

There were unconfirmed reports that the wounds required some 30 stitches at the Accident and Emergency unit at the nearby Mater Hospital.

He was released yesterday afternoon.

Gardai are appealing for anyone in the Upper Dorset Street area around 5am, and who might have witnessed the incident, to contact them.

His father, Brendan Cooper, wrote on Facebook yesterday that his son "is recovering well" and was due home in the afternoon.

"He was stabbed quite a number of times about the head and neck but he is in good spirits," he told the Irish Mail on Sunday.

"Another centimetre to the left and his eye could have gone, his ear is all cut up, his neck is destroyed. He tried to protect himself but the guy just didn't stop.

"It's just one of those things: he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The man looked for money and in the same breath began to tear into him. He didn't even wait for a reply."

Mr Cooper Snr said that there was no suggestion that the attacker recognised his son.

Cooper's club Na Fianna issued a statement yesterday wishing their player a speedy recovery.

The talented footballer was on a night out with teammates and friends after his team was knocked out of the Dublin Senior Football Championship by Templeogue Synge Street in a single-point defeat on Friday night. He had not played due to a leg injury.

It is understood the group had been in a city centre nightclub and Cooper and some friends were returning to their homes in north Dublin.

The Hill 16 Army's Facebook page read: "Our thoughts and prayers are with Dublin star Jonny Cooper who is recovering after being hospitalised in a vicious knife attack last night." The St Brigid's club also sent a message of support.

Cooper is one of Dublin's most talented defenders, mostly playing at left corner-back though he has also played in the half-back line for the Blues.

He won an All-Ireland senior medal last year when the Dubs beat Mayo. He also holds two Leinster titles, two National Football League titles and had two Sigerson Cup wins while in college at DCU.

Last night, Cooper tweeted his thanks to family and friends: "Absolutely Humbled by the msgs & calls over last few hours! Thank you all! I have an amazing group of friends and family," he wrote.

GAA clubs across the capital took to social media to send get-well wishes to the Dublin star, including St Vincents, Castleknock, his home club Na Fianna. Dublin City University GAA Club also wished their "very own" a "speedy recovery."

Meanwhile, in an unrelated incident at around the same time yesterday morning, a man in his early 20s was stabbed in the Blanchardstown area of west Dublin.

Gardai said they were investigating the incident and asked for assistance from anyone who was in the Whitestown Park area at around 5.30am.

The victim was taken to James Connolly Memorial Hospital where he was treated and released yesterday.

Also yesterday, gardai in Waterford were appealing for witnesses to another assault in which a 29-year-old man sustained serious head injuries in the Ballybeg area of Waterford at around 10.40pm on Friday.

The victim was taken to Waterford General Hospital, but later transferred to Cork University Hospital.

Sunday Independent

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