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Honeymoon joy for footballer whose heart stopped on pitch

LUCKY-to-be-alive Dubliner Seaghan Kearney is enjoying the gift of life with his new bride on a paradise island.

Schoolteacher Seaghan (32) came within a hair's breadth of dying from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS) when he collapsed playing football at a GAA club in Cabra.

A heart defibrillator and the quick actions of a club colleague helped re-start his heart.

"I've been given a second chance at life and I'm so thankful. It's given me a new drive to do things and live life to the full," said Seaghan.



Livelier

Seaghan and his bride Mary Lynch are enjoying an extended honeymoon on the Perhentian Islands off the coast of Malaysia.

Mary told the Herald: "I thought he was dead after it happened. But he's livelier and madder than ever. Now I worry less and enjoy things more."

The couple want to increase awareness of the Mater Foundation's Heart Appeal and the life-saving value of keeping a heart defibrillator accessible in every sports club and public venues.

Seaghan, a teacher at St Dominic's College, Cabra, was playing indoor five-a-side football at St Oliver Plunkett's GAA club in 2010 when he collapsed. Luckily, club member Terry O'Brien, a Dublin fireman, was in the club, gave him CPR, and sent for the club's defibrillator.

The battery in the machine was very low but just managed to have enough power to administer a life-saving shock to his heart.

Terry and Seaghan became much closer friends after the life-saving incident and Terry was the groomsman at the couple's wedding. While in hospital, doctors implanted an ICD device under Seaghan's arm, which is a miniature defibrillator that will re-start his heart if it stops again.

Seaghan has thanked the family of tragic Tyrone footballer Cormac McAnallen who died from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome in 2004 because they raised public awareness of the life-saving value of defibrillators that could have saved his life.

The family's campaign prompted a pharmacist in the Cabra area to donate the defibrillator to the local GAA club that saved Seaghan's life.

At the wedding ceremony on June 30, the Cormac McAnallen Trophy, won by Ireland in the compromise rules series against Australia, was standing on the altar.

"I really appreciate life now. We've done so many things since I've recovered. And we've got skiing, deep sea diving, and white water rafting planned over the next few weeks. Every morning being able to wake up and put

your feet on the floor is a gift," said Seaghan.