Belfast Telegraph

Ulster woman set alight by candle during Mass saved by GAA star

St Patrick's Church in the village of Killygordon. Image source Google
St Patrick's Church in the village of Killygordon. Image source Google

By Staff Reporter

An All-Ireland winning GAA star has been hailed a hero after saving a woman who caught fire at Mass in Co Donegal.

Donal Reid was attending church when the potentially fatal accident happened at St Patrick's Church in the village of Killygordon.

Donal Reid lifts the Sam Maguire Cup as Donegal physio in 2012
Donal Reid lifts the Sam Maguire Cup as Donegal physio in 2012

Mr Reid (57) was at the monthly 'healing Mass' on Monday morning when he was called into action.

He had taken his seat about four rows behind the elderly woman when he noticed a small light coming from the hood of her coat.

Mr Reid soon realised the woman's coat was on fire after she had brushed up against a holy candle a few seconds earlier.

He rushed to the woman and began to pat her coat down in a bid to put out the flames.

When he managed to put out the fire with his bare hands, the hero of the moment then took the woman's coat off.

Last night he played down the incident and said he was simply in the right place at the right time.

He said: "I just noticed the light on the woman's coat and realised it was actually on fire.

"It was soon getting worse.

"I had no real time to think about it but I knew I didn't have much time to explain things to her."

Mr Reid continued: "So I just rushed over to her and patted down the flames with my hands. I managed to get her coat off her."

He was left with burns to his hands from the fire but said he was fine afterwards.

Amazingly, the woman did not receive any burns to her body due to Mr Reid's quick actions.

Mr Reid said it was luck that he was there to help.

"She was shaken but thankfully she was okay," he said modestly.

"I'm just glad I was in the right place at the right time and I was able to help here. Anybody would have done the same."

Mr Reid is well-known throughout the country and especially in GAA circles having been a member of the first Donegal team to win Sam Maguire, beating Dublin in the 1992 All-Ireland Final at Croke Park.

Mr Reid is now a physiotherapist and wrote a very successful book, Confessions Of A Gaelic Footballer, in 2016.

Belfast Telegraph

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