Rescue of two young Galway women ‘like winning an All-Ireland’

People in Co Galway are “overjoyed” that two young women were rescued after they went missing after failing to return from paddleboarding.

The two cousins, Sara Feeney, 23 and Ellen Glynn, 17, were found alive after they were discovered by fisherman Patrick Oliver and his son Morgan south of the island of Inis Oirr on Thursday.

They had been in the water for more than 15 hours but tied their paddleboards together for safety and clung on to lobster pots.

Galway United will hold a minute’s applause for their game at home to Longford Town on Friday night as a gesture of thanks towards those who played a role in the rescue of Ellen Glynn, daughter of club star Johnny.

Johnny Glynn was a former striker for Galway United and has a role at the club as head of youth development.

Galway United’s vice president Bernie O’Connell told the PA news agency that the rescue of the two young women has given Galway “a huge lift” and compared it to winning an All-Ireland final.

Mr O’Connell, a family friend of the Glynns said: “People in Galway and indeed Ireland are overwhelmed with joy at the rescue of Sara and Ellen.

“It is absolutely wonderful news and everyone is so relieved.

“It was like winning the FAI Cup or an All Ireland win… people are just over the moon.

“It was a remarkable conclusion to a harrowing experience for the family.”

Mr O’Connell said the minute of applause is a gesture towards the hundreds of volunteers and professional service personnel for all of their work in helping to find them.

“Johnny Glynn is an iconic figure in Galway football, he scored the winning goal that won us the FAI Cup in 1991 against Shamrock Rovers.

“Johnny is a huge figure in football here so it was incumbent on us to mark the good news in some way.

“The news of the rescue would lift your heart and I have no doubt that the two fishermen who found the girls will be recognised for their heroics.

“Patrick and Morgan Oliver have been magnificent, they are two Claddagh fishermen who had local knowledge and they rose to the occasion.

“Thank God for the Olivers – they were measured and calculated and experienced.”

Mr O’Connell lauded the community spirit that was shown in Galway.

“I have lived in Galway all my life and I came across so many people I did not know at the search.

“So many people dropped work or did what they could to help in the search.”

“We have had so many dark months with the pandemic, this has given Galway and the entire country a tremendous lift.”