The Kerry GAA fan who suffered a heart attack at Saturday night’s Allianz League game in Tralee has heaped praise on everyone who helped save his life.
Templenoe native Geoff O’Mahony (44) was planning to see the Kingdom’s clash with Galway along with his son Dara (10), nephew Micheal Mahony (11), and their friend Mark Foley (11) when he fell ill shortly after 7pm.
Geoff explained: “We had dinner earlier in the Heights Hotel in Killarney and were a bit late for the game in Tralee. We had to run the 500 metres from the Rose Hotel carpark up to Austin Stack Park as the match had started.
“For the last 100 metres or so I stopped and I knew it was more than being out of breath from the running - I just couldn’t catch my breath.
“I struggled to get into the ground and once we got in I immediately went up the four gardaí on duty and told them that I was in serious trouble.
“They immediately brought me under the stand and I was quite fortunate that there were five of six medical personnel on duty.
“They assessed the situation very quickly and made initial calls about a helicopter transfer from the ground but instead an ambulance was dispatched and was there within minutes. Then the decision was taken to get me to the University Hospital in Limerick.
“The paramedics and the National Ambulance personnel were on the top of their game.
“Two people from the National Ambulance came with me in the ambulance while a paramedic followed up behind. I was rushed to Limerick and a stint was put into my heart by Dr Khalil within minutes of us arriving there.
“The staff in Limerick Hospital were top class on the night and have been incredible in the days since then. I’m feeling well and I will be back to Templenoe by the weekend, hopefully.”
While O’Mahony was rushed to hospital, the three young boys were being looked after by members of An Garda Síochána along with Kerry GAA officials.
Geoff continued: “The boys were chaperoned by the gardaí and brought to a room at Austin Stack Park where they were treated to treats and soft drinks.”
When informed of the incident after the dramatic one-point victory, Kerry boss Peter Keane delayed his post-match press conference to bring the youngsters down to the dressing room.
The squad, which included Templenoe club mates Tadgh Morley, Gavin Crowley and Killian Spillane, signed autographs, posed for photographs, and presented the boys with jerseys before they were collected.
“After the game, Kerry manager Peter Keane brought them down to the Kerry dressing room to meet the players. Tadhg Morley is a teacher in their school, St John’s in Kenmare, so he would know them to see. They got several pictures with the players, jerseys, togs, and gloves. Mark got David Clifford’s gloves and he was proud as a peacock.”
Huge shout out to these guys and @Kerry_Official @LeonaTwiss @KSpillane96 @tadhgmorley @GardaTraffic Dr Rice P. Keane stewards and medical staff in ASP for looking after these 3 young templenoe and kerry supporters when their dad took ill @kervgal Saturday evening @Slyone1069 pic.twitter.com/PBfwenZvZ9— Eddie o Sullivan (@eddieabu) February 3, 2020
He continued: “Patricia Foley (Mark’s mother) collected the boys I’d like to mention that the Gardaí and Peter escorted the boys out to Patricia to make sure that they got home safely. They were told by the team to wear the Kerry jerseys to school at St John’s on Monday which they did!”
O’Mahony's wife Sarah was at work on the night and received a call from Garda Simon Draghici shortly after 7pm to tell her what had happened.
“Sergeant James Hurley and Simon were two of the guards that I dealt with on the night. They were incredible. They rang me to tell me what was going on and that the boys were being cared for.
“The ambulance personnel then kept me updated when they were en route to Limerick. They even texted me the next day as well to see how things were doing.
“We cannot ever express enough thanks to everyone involved on the night, from the Gardaí, the ambulance staff and paramedics, the Kerry officials, Peter Keane and the Kerry players. In a way, Geoff was in the right place at the right time given all the support that was there and within two hours he was undergoing surgery.
“It was the worst night of my husband’s life - and the best night for the boys.”
Templenoe’s county board delegate Eddie O’Sullivan thanked all involved for their actions at Monday night’s scheduled board meeting. He later tweeted a picture of the children with the Kerry squad, adding: “Huge shout out to these guys and @Kerry_Official @LeonaTwiss @KSpillane96 @tadhgmorley @GardaTraffic Dr Rice P. Keane stewards and medical staff in ASP for looking after these 3 young templenoe and kerry supporters.”