Former Cork City football star speaks of relief at sea rescue of daughter and her cousin

Former Cork City football star speaks of relief at sea rescue of daughter and her cousin
John and Deirdre Glynn delighted with the news of their daughter Ellen age 17 after spending the night in rough sea.

The father of one of two young women found clinging to a lobster pot after 15 hours in the sea has spoken of his relief at their rescue.

Cousins Sara Feeney, 23, and Ellen Glynn, 17, were reported missing on Wednesday evening.

They were found on Thursday clinging to lobster pots, 27km from where they had initially set off paddleboarding on Furbo beach, by local fisherman Patrick Oliver and his son Morgan.

The search involved the RNLI, Coast Guard helicopters and the Civil Defence and local volunteers.

Ellen's father Johnny Glynn said their families faced an anxious wait when the two young women did not return home.

Mr Glynn won trophies as a player with Galway United, Cork City, St Patrick’s Athletic and Shamrock Rovers in a career that spanned over 15 years.

Mr Glynn said the women took a different route than usual while paddleboarding on Wednesday night.

"They usually go to Silverstrand but it was closed so they went down to Furbo beach - they had never been there before to paddleboard.

Cork City, winners of the League of Ireland Premier Championship.Back row, from left: Cormac Cotter, Stephen Napier, Johnny Glynn, Paul Bannon, Anthony Buckley, Liam Murphy, Dave Barry and Tim Carey, Physio.Front from left: Pat Morley, Fergus O'Donoghue, Declan Daly, Captain: Gerry McCabe, John Caulfield and Phil Harrington.Picture Eddie O'Hare
Cork City, winners of the League of Ireland Premier Championship.Back row, from left: Cormac Cotter, Stephen Napier, Johnny Glynn, Paul Bannon, Anthony Buckley, Liam Murphy, Dave Barry and Tim Carey, Physio.Front from left: Pat Morley, Fergus O'Donoghue, Declan Daly, Captain: Gerry McCabe, John Caulfield and Phil Harrington.Picture Eddie O'Hare

"We were standing on the beach at Furbo and you can't do anything and then we saw the helicopter sweeping the bay. The helicopter was hovering over one area for a while so we thought they could be picking them up but then they didn't call us.

"What was happening didn't really hit us until we went back to the house and we had to tell Ellen's three younger sisters the news that the girls had gone missing. They're young - they are only aged between nine to 14 so that was very tough," he told RTÉ Radio One's Morning Ireland.

"They were in shock then initially and started crying so it was very tough," he said.

Mr Glynn said the pressure was on to find them.

"We knew yesterday that we only really had from first light, which is 5am, until 9pm last night. You know, it's the worst-case scenario after that."

The Glynn and the Feeney families delighted to see their daughters Ellen 17 and Sara 23 landing safely at the helipad at the Galway Hospital after a long malty operation.Photo: Hany Marzouk
The Glynn and the Feeney families delighted to see their daughters Ellen 17 and Sara 23 landing safely at the helipad at the Galway Hospital after a long malty operation.Photo: Hany Marzouk

He said the fact that the girls stuck together and did not panic was key.

"Throughout the whole thing, I just hoped that they were still together.

"Ellen told me in the hospital last night that they tied the paddleboards together. I don't know how they did that or what they did it with but they tied them together and that was really the best thing they did," he said.

"Can you imagine being on your own compared to having a companion with you and to go through that alone," he said.

"The girls said they grabbed on to the lobster buoys and they could see the Cliffs of Moher in the distance and the Atlantic ocean between Clare and the Aran Islands. So they knew that they weren't too far away but the waves were quite high," he said.

"The girls could see helicopters in the distance and boats but they couldn't figure out why the boats weren't coming out to them."

Mr Glynn said they eventually saw a boat coming towards them.

"It was the Olivers... they got there and they rescued them and we are forever grateful to them."

He thanked the coastguard, RNLI, Gardai, and all the local people involved in the search.

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