An Irish girl viciously attacked on a Manhattan street just two years ago will lead the New York ladies gaelic football team in their All-Ireland semi-final bid tomorrow.
And friends and family will be on hand for the match against Derry in Ashbourne to celebrate Alisha Jordan’s remarkable recovery from her horrific injuries.
The Irish Independent reports that it is just over two years since the 22-year-old from Skryne was assaulted by a lone assailant as she walked home with a friend in the early hours of July 14, 2012.
Alisha was set upon with a brick and left with physical and psychological scars by the brutal assault.
She suffered multiple injuries which included a broken nose and a cut that required 43 stitches across the front of her forehead, between her eyes.
She was also left with two broken cheekbones, a broken nose, fractures to both orbital bones, a damaged nerve that caused the loss of her sight for two weeks and broken teeth.
The report says the assault was so severe that the brick was smashed into pieces and left Jordan facing a total of nine weeks in hospital.
She told the paper: “I definitely don’t look the same as before but I’ve come to terms with it. I don’t really think about it too much.
“I’ve kind of put it behind me and moved on a good bit from it. “Of course there are times when it comes back up and certain things remind me of it, but I’ve tried to move on - and football has definitely helped me with that.”
After receiving counseling to help deal with the massive emotional and psychological fallout, Alisha found inspiration back on the football field.
Doctors told her she would never play football again but she proved then wrong when she captained the Cavan team to victory in the New York Ladies football championship.
She had to wear a protective face mask on the field after reconstructive surgery saw ten plates inserted in her forehead and nose.
After scoring the winning point in the 2013 New York decider, Alisha suffered further heartache when her father John Joe died suddenly of heart failure last year.
She added: “I still suffer nightmares about it. There’s not much that you can do about those things.
“I just have to take the best of what came from it. I feel myself in my mind that I’ve definitely tried to look at the best side of it, whatever could be taken from it.
“Put the badness aside and look at the good - the friends I’ve made and the support I got were unbelievable.
“Things like that have helped me to push how cruel it was behind me.”
Now Alisha says she uses every single day as an opportunity to return to something approaching normality.
She says: “Even just before me, there was a girl in Boston who was attacked in the same manner.
“She didn’t come out of it as lucky as I did. I always have things like that in my mind.
“I was brutally attacked and could have been so much worse. Definitely, someone was looking down on me.
“I got back to normal and back to football within the year. I don’t feel I can be crying over it - I turned out fine in retrospect.”