Saturday 23 February 2019

Two men are charged after footballer suffers serious head injuries

Laois inter-county player Daniel O'Reilly
Laois inter-county player Daniel O'Reilly

Two men have been charged in connection with an assault on a GAA player who suffered serious head injuries.

Laois inter-county player Daniel O'Reilly has been in an induced coma since he was attacked by several people following a night out in Carlow town on Easter Monday.

The 21-year-old awoke briefly on Tuesday night and spoke with his mother before slipping back into unconsciousness.

Mr O'Reilly had been rushed to St Luke's Hospital with multiple fractures to his skull and bleeding to the brain.

Although his condition is described as serious, new hope emerged for the talented player after coming to.


A source told the Herald he was able to briefly communicate with his mother.

"I'm sure it was a big relief to his family, but his condition is still serious," the source said.

"He woke up last night for a brief period and talked for a little to his mum before he fell back asleep.

"They expect to leave him in intensive care for a day or two because they have more brain scans to do.

"Hopefully, it will be onwards and upwards from here."

Two men, both aged in their 20s, who were arrested on Tuesday, have been charged in connection with the assault and were due to appear before Carlow District Court this morning.

They had been detained in Kilkenny and Thomastown Garda Stations.

It is understood father-of-one Mr O'Reilly was randomly attacked, fell and hit his head off the pavement as he was getting a taxi.

A source told the Herald that he was struck multiple times from behind.

"It wasn't an open fight. We don't know what the motive behind the attack was yet, but gardai are continuing to investigate the circumstances of the incident," the source said.

Wishes for a speedy recovery have poured in for the talented footballer.

"We're all devastated at what happened," said Graiguecullen Cathaoirleach John Moran. "Daniel is such a nice, quiet lad and didn't deserve to be the victim of such a brutal assault. You wouldn't treat a dog this way.

"I hope the people who did this to him are found and punished."

Laois GAA also extended support. Peter O Neill, chairman of Laois CLG, told the Herald: "Our thoughts and those of all our players and supporters are with Daniel, his family and club.

"We wish him a full recovery and Laois GAA will help in any way we can."

Graiguecullen GAA club said its members were "heartbroken and devastated".

A statement posted on Facebook read: "Our thoughts and love are solely with Daniel and all his family right now. The matter is under investigation, so please respect the authorities.


"Direct your thoughts and comments offline rather than online of love and support for Daniel, Jade and all the O'Reilly family as we all unite together as one family now in support. We love you Dicey."

CCTV footage in Carlow town is helping gardai with their investigation.

Mr O'Reilly's team had been in high spirits after winning the Division 4 league final at Croke Park on Saturday.

The Graiguecullen native went on as the first substitute, helping to secure their 0-15 to 0-10 win over Carlow.

Gardai are continuing to appeal for any witnesses.

Anyone with information is ask to contact Carlow Garda Station on 059-9136620 or to contact the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.

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