All-Ireland winner hailed a hero after saving woman who caught fire at Mass

Donal Reid

A former All-Ireland winning GAA star has been hailed a hero after saving a woman who caught fire at Mass.

Donal Reid was attending Mass when the potentially fatal accident happened at his local church, St Patricks Church in Killygordon, Co Donegal.

Mr Reid, 57, was at the monthly 'healing Mass' on Monday morning last when he was called into action.

He had taken his seat about four rows behind the elderly woman when he noticed a small light coming from the hood of the woman's coat.

Donal soon realised the woman's coat was on fire after she had brushed up against a holy candle a few seconds earlier.

Scared of frightening the woman, Donal was left with a dilemma but knew he had to act.

He rushed to the woman and began to pat her coat down in a bid to fan down the flames as the woman's coat began to ignite.

When he managed to put out the fire with his bare hands, Mr Reid then took the woman's coat off.

Donal Reid was a member of the historic Donegal team which beat Dublin in the 1992 All-Ireland Final at Croke Park.

Last night Mr Reid played down the incident and said he was simply in the right place at the right time.

He said "I just noticed the light on the woman's coat and realised it was actually on fire. It was soon getting worse.

"I had no real time to think about it but I knew I didn't have much time to explain things to her.

"So I just rushed over to her and patted down the flames with my hands. I managed to get her coat off her."

Mr Reid was left with burns to his hands from the flames but said he was okay afterwards.

Amazingly the woman did not receive any burns to her body due to Mr Reid's quick actions.

"She was shaken but thankfully she was okay. I'm just glad I was in the right place at the right time and I was able to help her. Anybody would have done the same," he said modestly.

Mr Reid is well known throughout the country and especially in GAA circles as he was a member of the historic Donegal team which beat Dublin in the 1992 All-Ireland Final at Croke Park.

Having now retrained, Mr Reid is now a physical therapist and wrote a very successful book 'Confessions of a Gaelic Footballer' in 2016.

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