Garda Bravery Award Possible for Octogenarian Who Foiled Sportsbook Robbery

Doonagore castle at sunset, Co. Clare, Ireland

The octogenarian hero who helped thwart the armed robbery of an Irish sports betting shop may receive a bravery award from Ireland’s state police, the Gardai, at a later date.

Denis O’Connor, whose age has been variously reported between 83 and 85, is the great-grandad and customer of Bar One Racing who came to the aid of the betting shop’s clerk when three armed men burst in, demanding all the money in the shop’s safe.

In a 45-second video that soon went viral, shop regular O’Connor quickly went to the aid of Bar One manager Tim Murphy, who was also grappling with one of the would-be robbers. Two of the three men, according to the Gardai, were armed with hammers, while the third carried a suspected imitation shotgun that he briefly pointed at O’Connor’s face.

The brief scrap ended with the three hooded robbers fleeing the shop, with O’Connor delivering a final boot in the butt to one of the would-be robbers who had seemingly fallen on his way out the shop’s entrance.

O’Connor may well receive an award for bravery from Ireland’s state police, An Garda Síochána, at some point in the future.

Regarding O’Connor’s exceptional bravery, Gardai Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin told the Irish Sun: “A full investigation is underway as we speak. At present, we are concentrating on getting the culprits, and when we have matters fully investigated and hopefully a successful outcome to it, due consideration will be given to the recognition of the contribution of Mr. O’Connor in this respect.”

Gardai investigation continues

The Irish Gardai continues its investigation into the foiled robbery. An early statement from the police agency indicated that the robbers might have attempted it to pay off a drug debt. It was unclear how that information was obtained, along with the fact that the three robbers were believed to be young men in their late teens and early twenties.

Other information already released about the attempted robbery, in Glanmire in Ireland’s County Cork, indicate that the authorities have already zeroed in on the likely robbers, although no arrests have yet been made. The Garda has already conducted several raids in connection with the robbery attempt. The most significant of those may be a raid in the Riverstown area of Glanmire, in Cork, in which several cell phones and other possible evidence was seized.

The Gardai are also looking for the black car used as a getaway vehicle by the foiled robbers. One such vehicle was reported being seized as part of the raids, though a separate report indicates the vehicle may have been a “burned out” car recovered from nearby Waterford. Separately, the Irish police have continued calls for information about the likely car. The Gardai said: “We are also appealing for any witness sightings of suspicious activity by a black saloon vehicle, either an Audi A4 or VW Passat, in the Riverstown/Glanmire/Sallybrook area at the same time.”

O’Connor shies away from fame

O’Connor, a former mechanic who reportedly remains quite fit despite his age, has freely given quotes about the episode, yet he’s declined such things as an appearance on the “Late Late Show.” For him, it was all about the spur of the moment and doing what needed to be done.

O’Connor told the Irish Sun: “At first I thought it was a joke, a gimmick, but I quickly realized it was serious. “Tim, the manager, is a very nice young man and I just couldn’t just not help him. I ignored the fellow with the gun and I went behind the counter.

“I just didn’t think about what I was doing. Sometimes you can just sit down and do nothing or you can stand up to people like these, and that’s what I did. It all happened so fast, but I think I hit one of the men and tackled him. Despite my age, I managed to get the better of him.”

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