‘WE are not going to make Cork,’ were the words that struck fear into the heart of Skibbereen man Dermot O’Sullivan.
He and his partner, Maura Collins, had planned to drive to the maternity hospital in Cork at 7pm on Saturday 8th, but at 6.19pm she rang him at work in The Tanyard Bar and he knew from the sound of her voice that ‘things were serious.’
He dashed home, and, in desperation, called his mother, Mary, a former nurse, and she, too, was there in minutes.
It was Mary who suggested that they call one of Dermot’s best friends, Daire O’Regan, with whom he had played for years on the O’Donovan Rossa team.
It was a flash of inspiration because Daire not only lives locally – he is also a paramedic with the National Ambulance Service in Castletownbere.
As luck would have it, Daire was off duty – although he was dressed to the nines in his best blazer because he was just about to head off to see Hermitage Green play in Bantry.
Like the professional – and good friend that he is – Daire dropped everything and made it to Dermot’s house on the Cork Rd by 6.40pm and by 6.45pm little Jack ‘Daire’ O’Sullivan – weighing 6lbs 12ozs – was born. Before Daire O’Regan arrived, Dermot had been on the phone to a 999 operative and the person was telling Maura not to push. But Daire explained that it was ‘an imminent birth’ and after just a few more pushes, the couple’s two-year-old daughter, Sadie, had a brand-new baby brother.
The way that Dermot tells it, he was panic-stricken before Daire arrived ‘running up and down the stairs getting towels, because I didn’t know what to do.’
But from the moment Daire took charge, a semblance of order was restored. Dermot said: ‘He was very calm: he calmed me down, he calmed Maura, and he calmed my mother.’
Daire, on the other hand, denies that Dermot was a frantic mess, but Dermot is clear on one thing: ‘I am going to owe him for the rest of my life.’
But it is not just Daire that Dermot wants to thank. He wants to thank Mick Lynch too, an advanced paramedic with West Cork Rapid Response, who turned up ten minutes later.
Mick Lynch was followed, five minutes later, by the ambulance crew, including Ger Finn and Martin Murray, and Dr Jason van der Velde five minutes after that.
But not all the bouquets were for the first responders. As a proud husband and father, Dermot said: ‘Maura is great. She is a superhero in my eyes.’