PROMISING young rugby player Cillian Rea is ‘lucky to be alive’ after being seriously injured in an incident in Kilkee on Sunday.
The 17-year-old from Crecora was dramatically air-lifted from the Co Clare resort after diving off the pier and striking his head on a rock, suffering a serious head wound in the process.
There were fears that Cillian, a hooker with the victorious Crescent junior cup teams of recent years, had suffered head, neck and back injuries and he was flown to University Hospital Galway by the search and rescue helicopter as a result.
However his father Mike Rea said this Monday that he was “doing fine”.
“He is good now actually. He came through all the scans and the tests and everything well, so he is on the road to recovery,” said Mike. “He got a lot of stitches to the head all right, he had a fairly severe gash and he is very sore, but overall he is going to be good, we are expecting he will make a full recovery.
“He is a lucky boy and we are grateful for that,” he added.
The Kilkee Marine Rescue Service - whose headquarters neighbour the pier - sprang quickly into action shortly after 12.30pm on Sunday when Cillian dove off a low set of steps on the pier and struck his head.
A major recovery operation was mounted through the Irish Coast Guard, with an ambulance, a rapid response paramedic and a doctor sent to the scene, while the search and rescue helicopter was dispatched.
The ‘chopper was forced to land on the first tee box in Kilkee Golf Club because the car-park beside the pier was full of cars. Mr Rea paid tribute to the Kilkee Marine Search and Rescue.
“They came on the scene straight away and we are so grateful to them,” he said. “It is brilliant that they are there. You take these things for granted and it is only when something happens that you realise what kind of a job they do.”