A young "golf-mad" nine-year-old boy is recovering in hospital after undergoing emergency surgery on a severe head injury after being struck by a golf ball.
Jamie Mullane-Forest is now in a stable condition after he suffered the horrific injury while practising golf with a friend.
The accident occurred near his home at the Parkview Estate in the rural village of Shanagolden, Co Limerick, at around 7pm on Tuesday.
A spokesperson for Askeaton gardai said they are treating the incident as a "freak accident".
A neighbour described both the children as "golf-mad" and the frightening moment when Jamie was struck in the head by a golf ball and he fell hitting his head again on the footpath.
"They were both golf mad. They had been playing golf on the green all week," the neighbour said.
"Jamie was down at the corner when the other boy struck the ball and it hit him on the back of his head.
"He fell down on the grass and was crying. His friend's dad rushed out of the house. Jamie put his hand to his head and it came away covered in blood.
"The dad brought him inside and gave him first aid but he fell unconscious. The emergency services arrived and Jamie was rushed to hospital."
He was taken to the Mid Western Regional Hospital in Dooradoyle a short time later, before being transferred to Beaumont Hospital in Dublin for emergency surgery.
"We heard afterwards he might not come out of the coma, but since then the news has been better."
It is understood the youngster suffered a number of seizures before an ambulance arrived a short time later and rushed him to hospital in Limerick City -- 30 miles away.
Gardai at nearby Askeaton have confirmed that a number of gardai attended the scene of Tuesday's incident after the alarm was raised.
Although an investigation is continuing a spokesman said the incident is being treated as a "freak accident".
Jamie is due to start third class at Pallaskenry National School next month.
Another neighbour said that the whole community of Shanagolden was thinking of Jamie and his family at this time.
"Everyone has been praying for Jamie. He is a popular little lad and we are thrilled to hear he is much better.
"Everyone has great sympathy for his little friend who is absolutely distraught over what happened."
Jamie's devoted family were holding a vigil at his bedside in Beaumont Hospital last night.