Brave teens who fought off knife robber honoured
The bravery of two teenagers who foiled an armed robbery has been recognised with a garda youth award.
Darragh Cassidy and Ryan Hughes (both 19) were working as shop assistants when they fought off a man who threatened them with a knife in a supermarket in Nobber, Co Meath, last March.
The eagle-eyed pair even managed to detect a partial registration number under false plates on the getaway car, which helped gardai arrest a suspect.
Their quick actions meant the thief escaped with only €18 after paying for a cigarette lighter.
Darragh, now an apprentice electrician, said that in hindsight he had been "a bit stupid" to risk his life.
"The man came in and asked me for a cigarette lighter. He was looking all around him but he couldn't see Ryan because he was packing shelves," he said.
"When I opened the till he sort of jumped around the counter to make a grab for the money. I had my hand covering the €50 notes so he only managed to take a €20 before I grabbed him.
"He said he had a knife but I didn't believe him and tussled with him while shouting for Ryan to help me.
"It was only when Ryan pushed him away that he pulled the knife and told us to back away and not to follow him."
However, the teenagers followed him outside.
"He was in the car and he must have been drunk or drugged because it took him a while to get the engine started so we got a partial registration before he drove off," Darragh said.
Ryan had noticed tape over the licence plate and removed it to reveal the real registration.
"He only got €20 but he paid €2 for the lighter so really he only escaped with €18," he said."
The pals were nominated for their bravery by local gardai Martina Gallagher and Colm McNally at the recent Meath Garda Youth awards in Kells.
"Looking back, I think I was a bit stupid as it could have ended up a lot worse, but adrenalin and automatic response just kicked in," said Darragh.
Ryan said they were "shocked and honoured" to get the award.
"They displayed a commitment to the safety of their community and a willingness to step up to the mark. They both displayed tremendous courage," said Meath crime prevention officer and awards organiser Sgt Dean Kerins.
He added, however, that gardai did not encourage people to stand up to criminals.