Hero honoured for bravery, though rescue nearly ended Army dream

An act of heroism two years almost scuppered Ryane Twomey’s future career in the Army.

Ryane and his friend Cillian Mahon ran into a burning building in Fermoy, Co Cork, and pulled its two occupants to safety.

The young men each received a silver medal and certificate of bravery at the National Bravery Awards in Dublin yesterday.

Ryane and Cillian had been out celebrating their Leaving Certificate results in Aug 2011 when they noticed smoke coming from the second floor of an apartment complex.

Ryane, now a three-star private in the Army, kicked in both the front door and the door of the apartment that was on fire to get to the two men who were trapped inside.

However, he badly damaged his knee during the rescue and only had three weeks to recover before joining the Army. “I was lucky to get through it,” he said yesterday.

Ryane said the Army did not know that he was to receive a national award until two weeks ago. “I am shy enough about it. It is not something I go round telling everyone about,” he said.

Another silver award recipient was David McCormack from Kildare town, who pulled a neighbour from his burning home two years ago.

“I heard a window breaking and came running out of the house and could see smoke coming from Patrick Gibney’s house,” he said.

“I kicked in the front door and ran upstairs before I realised where I was and what I was doing. I could not find him and was wondering should I stay or go because I knew my life was in danger. Paddy was on the ground and I was shouting at him to get up but he couldn’t move. I felt my way around, tipped his fingers, and then grabbed his hands.”

David, a builder who was familiar with the layout of his neighbour’s house, knew he only had seconds to get the two of them out.

One of the eight bronze-medal winners was Padraic Manning, who rescued a 4-year-old girl who fell into the sea between a boat and the harbour wall in Dingle, Co Kerry, in Jul 2007.

The child’s mother, who could not swim, screamed for help, and Padraic, from Spiddal, Co Galway, who was sitting on the pier with a friend, responded.

“The little girl was kind of in between the trawler and the pier so I had to swim in between the gap and pulled her up. There was a ladder at the side of the pier and I got her to the end of it and one of my friends came down it, gabbed her and took her up. Every year the family, who are from Killarney, send me a Christmas card asking me how I am getting on.”


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