A 23-year-old woman from South Armagh is in a critical condition in Chicago after she was beaten with an aluminium baseball bat in the US city yesterday.
Natasha McShane, from Silverbridge, had been studying at the University of Illinois in Chicago.
Ms McShane and a female friend were attacked at 3am local time on their way home from a night out.
Ms McShane’s grandmother said she was disgusted by the attack on a “great girl” who always aimed high.
Bernadette McShane said she understood her granddaughter had undergone an operation but her condition remained the same.
She added: “The report was not good but, with the help of God, that could be turned around. Everyone is ringing and prayers are being said.”
Ms McShane’s parents, Jim and Sheila McShane, are understood to have taken a flight to America to be at their daughter’s bedside.
She is receiving treatment at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago.
It is understood the attacker struck both women with the bat before stealing their handbags and running away.
Ms McShane did her primary degree at Queen’s University in the North before going on to do a postgraduate course at University College, Dublin.
She is studying urban planning in Chicago.
The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed it is providing consular assistance to the McShane family.