A former Cork footballer is in hospital in Boston after he was assaulted at a family wedding in at the weekend.
Damien O’Neill, from Bantry, Co. Cork, was assaulted at a wedding on Friday night landing him a coma until Tuesday morning. It is believed that O’Neill, an ex inter-county footballer, will make a full recovery.
Very little details of the attack have been released.
O’Neill, 37, was visiting Boston for his brother in law’s wedding. He traveled to the U.S. with his wife Valerie and their four children for a two-week break, which coincided with the family wedding. He rented a house near Irish neighborhood Quincy.
O’Neill, a nephew of County Cork star Declan Barron, lived in Boston for some years where he trained as a carpenter before moving back to Ireland and setting up his very own construction business.
He first made a name for himself in Cork football circles when he played with the Cork minors’ in their All Ireland win in 1991. ?Three years later He also captained the Cork U21’s to Munster and All-Ireland success. ??
O’Neill, whose father Terry is a selector with the Cork senior football team, heard the news of his son’s attack as he traveled with the county team to Dublin on Saturday afternoon.
"He was in a coma but thankfully now he is coming out of it, and we are so pleased and very relieved to hear it," said Terry.
O’Neill’s local team the Bantry Blues said they are shocked at the news.
Dr. Denis Cotter, a selector with the team told reporters on Monday that O’Neill “is a local hero.”
“He was the best man at my wedding and he’s still playing football with the club. He is very fit and we hope that stands to him. Our prayers are with him and his family," Cotter said. ??
Cork Senator Denis O’Donovan said he was informed of the attack on O’Neill on Sunday when Cork senior footballers took on Dublin senior footballers to win a place in the All-Ireland finals.
“I heard it while I was attending the game. Damien is a very popular member of the community in Bantry who captained Bantry Blues to Cork senior championships success in 1995 and 1998," O’Donovan said. ??"He is a very competitive lad who trained as a carpenter and went to Boston to learn the trade more before coming back here and opening his own business, which employs a fair few people. We are all hoping he makes a speedy recovery.”
It is believed that O’Neill will be well enough to go back to Cork in two weeks.
"He was bad for a while but the doctors are now saying that they hope to be in a position to release him in two weeks' time," his father said.