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Dublin Hurler Ryan O'Dwyer On The Nightclub Attack Which Nearly Cost Him His Life

Dublin Hurler Ryan O'Dwyer On The Nightclub Attack Which Nearly Cost Him His Life
By PJ Browne
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It was the 'worst decision' of his life according to Ryan O'Dywer.

Back in October, O'Dwyer and a friend - both primary school teachers - decided to make a trip to London for the Rugby World Cup final.

Taking the boat from Holyhead, the two stopped in Birmingham for the night, one day before the final between New Zealand and Australia.

O'Dwyer would not make it to Twickenham.

Standing outside a nightclub, chatting to the bouncer, O'Dwyer received a punch to the head.


Speaking to the Herald, the Dublin hurler told his story.

Then, all of a sudden - bang - got a slap in the side of the head. I can't remember anything. Fell. Cracked my head. Unconscious.

The result of the attack was a fractured skull, a broken jaw and - most worryingly - bleeding to his brain. The Tipp native was taken to hospital in West Bromwich where he would remain for a week.

O'Dwyer credits Chris Thompson, the Dublin team doctor for years, for him still being alive today.

Cliodhna, my fiancé, was in touch with Chris Thompson. I honestly don't think I'd be alive only for him.

He was in touch with the specialist in West Bromwich. He said straight out to Cliona, 'when Ryan is ready to come home, when the hospital let him go' - and Ger Cunningham said it too - 'we'll get you back to Ireland.'

"The county board, I swear….you only realise when something like this happens, how good they are. The GAA is a family.

Upon returning home, the 29-year-old was not out of choppy waters.


I was under continuous assessment. I was sleeping 20 hours a day. I wasn't in touch with reality. I was very irritable.

I'd be getting cranky with Cliodhna. I was a horrible person.

The seriousness of the situation did not fully hit O'Dwyer until he spoke with two neurosurgeons. It was then he realised the 'life or death' nature of his circumstances.


Months later, O'Dywer is still confounded by the attack.

I'll say straight out. If I'm involved in something, people think I'm the aggressor. But - and maybe for the first time in my life - I was 100 per cent innocent.

And I would say 'no problem' if I was involved. But I was totally innocent in this. And that's what kills me. This was literally, just having a chat and then - bang.

Picture credit: Piaras Ó Mídheach / SPORTSFILE

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