A HERO’S WELCOME Pictured at the National Bravery Awards ceremony in Farmleigh House in Dublin were, from left: Naoise Ó Muirí, Lord Mayor of Dublin; Senator Paddy Burke, Cathaoirleach of Seanad Éireann; Seán Barrett TD, Ceann Comhairle; Mr Martin Callinan, Commissioner of An Garda Siochana; Frank McManamon from Newport; Cllr Hilary Quinlan, President of the Association of County and City Councils and Mr David O’Callaghan, Chairman of The Irish Red Cross.
Newport hero recalls violent attack after bravery awards ceremony
A young Newport man who fended off a random attack on a young woman in Dublin City Centre in 2009, was recently honoured with a National Bravery Award at a special ceremony in Farmleigh House, in Dublin.
Frank McManamon was walking past the Central Bank on Dame Street in the capital on June 28 2009, with his friend Pearse Ward, when they came across Samuel Connolly harassing a woman. When Connolly, who it later transpired in court was extremely intoxicated on drink and head shop substances became abusive towards the frightened woman, Frank and Pearse decided to intervene - the result of which was a vicious and brutal assault that resulted in severe injuries to them both.
Speaking to The Mayo News over Christmas, 25-year-old Frank, who is an engineer working as a Logistics Front Line Manager (FLM) in Magor Brewery in the UK for the world’s largest brewing company Anheuser-Busch InBev, recalled the life-changing incident.
“Myself and a good friend of mine from college, Pearse Ward from Dublin, were walking down Dame Street in Dublin on our way home after a night out when we noticed a man harassing a woman outside the Central Bank and went to investigate. The woman, Maria Brange from Laois, was waiting on her friends to return with her purse she had left in their taxi when she was dropped off. She was only in Dublin for the evening to attend a concert and was staying in a hotel in Temple Bar. Whilst waiting on her friends the man in question approached her looking for cigarettes and when she replied she didn’t have any he got abusive. We told him to leave and were waiting with Maria for her friends to return as she was visibly upset,” Frank recalled.
Thirty seconds later however, Connolly returned to the scene with a broken wine bottle and rushed at the two friends.
“We moved to evade him but he caught Pearse across the face ripping his nose and cheek open. I then rugby tackled him, luckily managing to knock the bottle from his hand and wrestled him to the ground. Pearse then grabbed his legs and together we held him for five minutes until Gardaí arrived. Whilst restraining him he bit a piece from my side and violently started to kick and punch me, giving me numerous cuts and bruises. Pearse required plastic surgery and 120 stitches to seal up the wounds to his face they were that severe.”
Frank is the only son of Joan and Pete McManamon, and hails from Teevemore Newport. Growing up with four younger sisters to watch out for his mother says she is not surprised that her son’s instinct was to aid the young woman that night.
In December 2010 Connolly received a seven year sentence with the last two years suspended. Speaking at the time, the two friends said that they saw the girl being hassled and stepped in.
“I would hope that if it happened to my sister, girlfriend or anyone connected to me that others would do the same,” Pearse said, with Frank recalling that as the assailant was biting into his hand and side, he could see his friends teeth through his jaw so severe were his injuries.
Presenting National Bravery Awards to eight gardai and eight members of the public at Farmleigh in Dublin, Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett told them; ‘You have done yourselves, your families, your communities and your country proud.’
In a letter to Frank following the ceremony, he added; “May I say that your selfless act of bravery remains a wonderful inspiration to every citizen and through your example our society has the capacity to be a better place for all.”
Frank McManamon was educated in Holy Family NS, Newport, Rice College, Westport and Dublin Institute of Technology where he obtained a BEng in Structural Engineering in 2008, before going on to complete his - MSc Operations and Logistics Management at the University of Surrey in 2012.
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