Lifetime friendship from a lifesaving day

IT was Michael Murphy’s final game for Donegal and Declan Bonner’s as manager, but June 12, 2022 will be a day Dave Gallagher will never forget.

Donegal had knocked Armagh out of the Ulster Championships and the Qualifiers draw dragged them back to Clones for an all or nothing rematch.

For Donegal followers they were hoping that what their team had achieved in Ballybofey could be repeated to keep their All Ireland aspirations on track.

But for two supporters heading to the game, what happened on the road outside St Tiernach’s Park would signal how important first aid training. It’s knowledge that can save a life.

Just ask Dave Gallagher, a Donegal native living in Dublin.

He was just outside the ground when he suddenly became ill and fell to the ground suffering a nasty cut in the process.

Luckily for Dave former Armagh County footballer Finnian Moriarty – a son of Armagh legend Paddy – was walking behind him and realised that Dave had suffered a major seizure.

Finnian took control of the situation and immediately performed CPR and worked on Dave until a doctor and medics arrived from the ground.

Described at the time as a terrible situation which was dealt with brilliantly by Finnian, the medical people and an Ulster GAA team led by the late Marion Donnelly (who passed away suddenly at home in December 2022) ensured that patrons were diverted from the scene to ensure the medics had unhindered access to attend to Dave.

An ambulance arrived and brought Dave to Cavan General Hospital where he was on a ventilator for a number of days before being transferred to a Dublin hospital for a heart procedure 17 days later.

Dave’s heart was estimated to have been stopped for four minutes and 45 seconds so to Finnian and all the Medical team who worked on him outside St Tiernach’s Park  – maith thu a chairde go leir.

All of this goes to show how important first aid training is and what it can mean for a person who takes ill to have someone with this expertise close to them when things go wrong.

Dave is so grateful to Finnian for saving his life and it was great that the two of them were able to meet up in much happier circumstances in December last year and that they met up again before the result league meeting of the counties.

They have formed a friendship that will be there for a lifetime and as Dave would be first to acknowledge nobody knows how long that will be.

A day that had two people heading to support their respective counties ended up with a life saved and new friends for ever.

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