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Sunday 8 December 2019

'I've learned gratitude', says Dubs star Jonny of his horrific knife ordeal

Cooper is ‘more grounded’. Photo: SPORTSFILE
Cooper is ‘more grounded’. Photo: SPORTSFILE

Dublin football star Jonny Cooper has opened up about the horrific knife attack in which he was stabbed nine times in the face and neck.

The defender, who was the victim of a random assault on Dorset Street in September 2014, revealed how it took time to overcome the effects.

"I remember saying to Niall, my brother, at the time, 'God, I am scared sitting here', two days later," he said in an interview over the weekend.

"When it got dark, even those things were getting to me, or walking down the road, looking over my shoulder for a little while.

"Glasnevin, my home, is a very safe place. Even when it was bright out, if a noise went off or a bang or whatever, that took a while, that took probably 18 months to two years to sort of get over," he said.

"I have learned a lot about myself and the priorities you should have, and the gratitude and the respect.

"I've just learned to be a little bit more grounded as opposed to being a little bit more ego-driven and selfish, which is easy in a way when you're doing well, and playing with Dublin."

Cooper says he is unable to remember details of the incident itself.

Support

The footballer spent one night in the Mater Hospital following the incident, and when he woke up there were family members around his bed.

He received professional counselling and massive support from within his Na Fianna club, the county panel, and his circle of family and friends.

The story generated huge coverage at the time and he left the hospital through a back door.

The footballer revealed his mother had been away on holidays at the time, and came home early.

"Mam had to come home from holidays," he recalled.

"I remember we collected her from the airport. And that in itself was tough. You are the reason she is coming home.

"The holiday thing, I know how hard she worked and worked without any holidays, and you pulled her away from it.

"And I can still do a lot more, I am still not perfect, I have made a lot of mistakes since as well," he told the Sunday Independent.

"I am still trying to understand myself and how I fit into the grander scheme of things."

Cooper added he feels extremely grateful "that you could come out of it going, 'God it's only a couple of scratches', but it could have been very different."

Meanwhile, the victorious Dublin senior men's and ladies' teams will first be greeted in a civic reception in the Mansion House next Sunday.

City councillors will have the opportunity to meet with the players before the public 'homecoming' event takes place in Merrion Square.

The councillors will form a guard of honour in their council robes for the players as they go onto the stage.

The event will take place from 1.30pm to 4.30pm and is expected to generate huge interest in the city.

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