NEWS

Dramatic airlift from Donegal football pitch saves life

Kilcar mentor Seamus Gallagher took ill suddenly after his side's home game with Milford and was airlifted by helicopter to Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry

Peter Campbell

Reporter:

Peter Campbell

Dramatic airlift from Donegal football pitch saves life

One of Donegal's best-known football figures was at the centre of a dramatic airlift on Sunday last from Towney pitch in Kilcar.

Kilcar mentor Seamus Gallagher took ill suddenly after his side's home game with Milford and was airlifted by helicopter to Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry. Surgery was performed on arrival and he was back on the recovery ward within 15 minutes.

From his hospital bed in Letterkenny he told the Donegal Democrat: "I'm a very lucky man. The surgeons told me. They said I wasn't far away (from death)."
The former county footballer said he got no warning and was kicking the ball during the warm-up before Sunday's All-County League Division One game at home to Milford.
"It was only in the huddle after the game that I felt a sensation and something coming over me.
"Then back in the dressing room Barry (Doherty) was giving his after match speech and I went to get some water. On the way back I just fell," said Seamus.
It was then that the network of medical assistance kicked in. The Kilcar physio Emma McSweeney took control initially, helped by Eamonn Doherty until the ambulance arrived. Then Miriam Curran and her medical team decided that a helicopter was needed.
"They were all excellent and I'm deeply indebted to them."
The helicopter arrived within 20 minutes, and the journey time to Altnagelvin was 18 minutes, followed by 15 minutes in theatre - a timescale that meant that Seamus Gallagher survived.