THE circumstances might have been far from ideal but a young Kerry supporter, his cousin and their friend had a once-in-a-lifetime up close and personal encounter with their GAA heroes on Saturday night.
The father of one of the boys, who was treating them to a night at the Kerry v Galway National League game in Tralee, suddenly felt very unwell on their arrival at Austin Stack Park and approached gardaí on duty to seek help.
Geoff O’Mahony, a 44-year-old farmer from Templenoe, had suffered a serious cardiac episode but, luckily, paramedics were quickly on the scene and Tralee consultant Dr John Rice – who was a spectator at the game and was seated in the nearby stand – rushed to his assistance.
While Geoff was brought by ambulance to hospital, members of An Garda Síochána, Kerry GAA PRO Leona Twiss and Austin Stack Park officials, acted quickly to take care of the three young boys – Geoff’s son Dara (10), nephew Michael O’Mahony (11) and their friend Mark Foley (11) – and ensured they were well looked after.
They were brought to a room to watch the game and given a plentiful supply of snacks while they awaited the arrival of Mark Foley’s mum from her home in Templenoe.
When informed of the incident immediately after the final whistle, Kerry manager Peter Keane invited the three boys to the Kerry dressing room where they met their sporting idols.
The players afforded them a VIP welcome, happily posing for snapshots, signing autographs and presenting the three young fans with the new Kerry jerseys before they were collected by a relative and brought home. One of the boys even managed to secure the gloves worn by Kerry skipper David Clifford as a keepsake.
Three of the players, in particular, were very familiar to the young fans and when they trio walked into the dressing room they were immediately greeted by their fellow Templenoe natives, Gavin Crowley, Killian Spillane and Tadhg Morley, who is a teacher at their school.
Thankfully, a hugely relieved Geoff is making a very good recovery after undergoing a surgical procedure at Limerick University Hospital and he hopes to be back home in Templenoe by the weekend.
He has expressed his gratitude to all involved and said, in a way, he was lucky to be in Tralee as if it had happened at home, he would probably have to wait 45 minutes for an ambulance to arrive.
“I dodged a bullet,” he said.
Geoff’s club’s county board delegate, Eddie O’Sullivan, posted a snapshot on Twitter this Tuesday showing the three boys with the Kerry players in the dressing room and thanking all involved for their help.
He tweeted: “Huge shout out to these guys and @KerryOfficial @LeonaTwiss @KSpillane96 @tadhgmorley @GardaTraffic Dr Rice P. Keane stewards and medical staff in ASP for looking after these 3 young templenoe and kerry supporters”.
It’s not the first time the O’Mahony family has been caught up in a drama at a Kerry v Galway game as Geoff’s pwn father, Geoff Snr, suffered a heart attack at a game between the two counties in Croke Park in 2002.
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