Belfast Telegraph

Irish soccer fan back from dead after cup final life-saver

By Edel O'Connell and Paddy Clancy

An elderly man was brought back to life by the quick actions of fellow football fans and a doctor after suffering a massive heart attack at Sunday's FAI Cup Final.

Dr Jude McSharry (34), who is a nephew of former Tanaiste Ray MacSharry, was on volunteer medical duty during Sligo Rovers' victory over Shamrock Rovers at Lansdowne Road on Sunday when the incident occurred in the West Lower Stand near the VIP section.

The wife of his cousin Senator Marc MacSharry, Marie, was on her way back to her seat at half-time when a man she had leaned on slightly suddenly fell forward.

She immediately noticed the man, understood to be a Sligo fan in his 70s, was in serious medical difficulty, so when she spotted Dr McSharry less than 20 feet away she called out to him.

Dr McSharry, who has a GP practice in Blanchardstown, west Dublin, rushed to the man's aid.

"It was really a team effort," he said. "Marie was walking past the man and put her hand on his shoulder to make her way and he just fell forward. I was just a second or so away and she called out to me."

Dr McSharry, who was equipped with a radio and carried his own medical kit, alerted an ambulance crew who were pitchside as he dashed to the man. Sligo TD Dr Jimmy Devins, who was sitting a few seats away, joined him. Sligo Rovers chairman Dermot Kelly, who is a consultant anaesthetist at St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin, also went to the man's aid.

A priest along with the Bishop of Elphin, Christopher Jones, started giving the Last Rites as the doctors placed the man on the ground and started administering CPR.

"He was effectively dead. He had gone into ventricular fibrillation which means the heart is effectively unable to beat -- he had no pulse and he was not breathing," said Dr McSharry.

A small tube was used to allow air pass into the man's lungs and a defibrillator, carried by ambulance personnel, was used to apply an electric shock.

Dr McSharry said: "We pressed the shock button to apply the sparks and happily he came around.

"It was very satisfying as a doctor to see somebody in a bad situation, with no pulse, coming back like that. He was talking to us.

"The safest place to have a heart attack is at a football match manned by ambulance crews and doctors."

The man, who attended the match with his friend, was then taken to St Vincent's Hospital.

"This man would certainly have died if he had suffered this heart attack at home or on the street," said Dr McSharry.

Dr McSharry, who is originally from Enniscrone, Co Sligo, is a lifelong Sligo Rovers fan. When he checked with a hospital coronary care unit yesterday he was told the survivor was making good progress.

Belfast Telegraph

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