GAA star hailed after dousing woman’s burning coat at Mass
Donal Reid’s hands burned patting down flames with bare hands in Donegal church
Donegal GAA star Donal Reid pictured near Ballybofey, Co Donegal, in 2017. Photograph: Declan Doherty
An All-Ireland winning GAA star has been hailed a hero after burning his hands while saving a woman whose coat caught fire at Mass.
Donal Reid was attending Mass when the potentially fatal incident happened at his local St Patrick’s Church at Killygordon, Co Donegal.
Mr Reid (57), was at the monthly “healing Mass” last 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 the woman’s coat.
Donal soon realised the woman’s coat was on fire after she had brushed up against a devotional candle a few seconds earlier.
Concerned that he could frighten the woman, Donal was left with a dilemma, but knew he had to act.
He rushed over and began to pat her coat down to douse the flames.
When he had managed to put out the fire, he helped the woman to take the coat off.
Last night Mr Reid played down the incident. 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.
Patted down the flames
“So I just rushed over to her and patted down the flames with my hands. I managed to get her coat off her.”
Mr Reid was left with burns to his hands from the flames but said he was okay afterwards.
Amazingly the woman did not receive burns due to Mr Reid’s quick actions.
“She was shaken but thankfully she was okay. 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,” he said.
Mr Reid is well known especially in GAA circles, as he was a member of the Donegal team which beat Dublin in the 1992 All-Ireland Final at Croke Park.
Mr Reid, a physical therapist, wrote a memoir, Confessions of a Gaelic Footballer, in 2016.