Northern Ireland news

Defibrillator saves life of Tyrone All-Ireland winner's father at match

Conor Gormley with his father Sean pictured in the Croke Park changing rooms at the recent launch of the Under-20 championship
Francis Mooney and Gareth McKeown

AN All-Ireland winning footballer has stressed the importance of every sports club having a defibrillator after his father’s life was saved during a match in Co Tyrone.

Conor Gormley rushed from the field during Carrickmore's Division 1 league game against Ardboe to be by his father Sean's side as efforts were made to resuscitate him.

The 62-year-old had collapsed as the two teams made their way back out for the second half in Ardboe on Friday night.

“We were just walking into position when one of the team management came over and said ‘Your dad, your dad’. I made a beeline for the stand," Conor said.

"It seemed like an awful long time, but he came round fairly quickly after the defibrillator was used."

The match was abandoned as Mr Gormley was taken by ambulance to Craigavon Area Hospital, where he was recovering last night.

“If the defibrillator hadn’t been there, it might have been a totally different story. It shows the importance of it, and having it ready and available at every club. You just never know when it’s going to be called upon,” Conor said.

The three-time All-Ireland winner paid tribute to members of the Ardboe and Carrickmore clubs for their actions.

“There were three or four girls from Ardboe, and they were exceptional in the work that they did, and a big massive thank you to them," he said.

“He’s recovering well and doing well, and a big thanks to the staff up there as well, and the ambulance staff for their swift action, and keeping everybody calm and cool, because it wasn’t easy dealing with it.”

He said that at a different time and place, the outcome could have been different.

“Earlier that day he was out golfing with a few friends, and if it had happened on the golf course, it may not have been such a positive outcome."

Conor Gormley is a former team-mate of Cormac McAnallen (24), whose sudden death in March 2004 prompted the establishment of the Cormac Trust which has worked to instal heart defibrillators in all sports clubs.

“We’re grateful to the Cormac Trust, and the way they have driven that issue with the defibrillators," he said.

“It’s up to people within the clubs, all clubs, not just the GAA, to check their defibrillators, make sure they’re in working order, serviced regularly and easy at hand to get to.”

The Ardboe and Carrickmore clubs also paid tribute to the bravery of those who intervened and stressed the importance of having properly maintained defibrillators and people trained in their use.

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