An 83-year-old great-grandfather rushed to the assistance of staff and took on three armed men who were trying to rob the premises has been hailed a “hero”.
Father of five, Denis O'Connor, from Glanmire in Co Cork was in Bar One Racing in the area on Saturday evening at about 6pm when three men in their teens or early 20s came in armed with hammers and a shotgun demanding money from the safe.
Two men, who were wearing balaclavas, proceeded to jump over the counter and attack the manager. A third man carrying what appeared to be a shotgun held up the customers.
Mr O’Connor, who trains regularly in a Cork gym and walks and swims several times a week, immediately went to the aid of the manager, Tim Murphy. He tackled one of the men and the raiders left empty-handed.
Mr Murphy said the robbery, which was caught on CCTV footage, was quite shocking. He said the young men, who were shouting and bashing their hammers, ignored the till takings and demanding that he open the safe.
He described the situation as “intimidating.”
Mr Murphy said he was extremely grateful for the actions of Mr O’Connor.
“I was just being threatened by the two fellas with the hammers. Denis tackled one of them and I thought ‘I will have to tackle this fella as well.’
“I tried to grab the hammer. It was a total blur. They totally backed down. I remember Denis just shouting: ‘Ye are cowards. Ye are total cowards.’
“Denis is a total hero. When I saw him taking one of them on he totally inspired me. He is very fit.”
Mr Murphy said friendship was at the root of the actions of Mr O’Connor.
“He is a lovely man. I know him well,” said Mr Murphy. “I know him so well he came to my aid. He wasn’t looking after the bookies, he was looking after me. I could never thank him enough.”
‘Stay out of it’
Mr Murphy gave an interview to the Neil Prendeville show, on Cork's Red FM, in a bid to publicise the CCTV footage of the robbery. He hopes that gardaí will catch the raiders based on public response to the footage.
“I am here to raise awareness. Hopefully they will be caught. Hopefully people will see the video and somebody will recognise something.”
Meanwhile, Garda Supt Mick Comyns of Mayfield Garda station renewed an appeal for information on the case. He said the three young men entered the bookmakers at 6.20pm on Saturday.
“Two of them had hammers which are quite plain to be seen on CCTV. The other had what looks like a sawn off shotgun. The action then of the employee at the bookmakers and one of the customers prevented the robbery and chased the would be robbers from the premises.”
He said what Mr O’Connor and Mr Murphy did was “great”. However, he would urge people to exercise caution in such circumstances.
“It’s good to see that the robbery was prevented but the the consequences could have been a whole lot worse. Obviously our advice to people would be do not take on people who come in to commit a crime in any premises.
“If they are going to commit a crime, if they are armed they will be on a high or there will be adrenaline rush and they can do anything. So it is very important that people stay calm and to a degree stay out of it. “
Anyone who has information relating to a black saloon car which was seen leaving the area at speed around the time of the robbery is asked to contact gardaí in Mayfield on (021) 455 8510.
Members of the public with information in the case should also contact gardaí in Mayfield or any Garda station.