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  • Northside East

Former Paralympic footballer issues heartfelt appeal to thieves

Tuesday, 26th April, 2016 8:00am

Story by Pat O'Rourke
Former Paralympic footballer  issues heartfelt appeal to thieves

Alan O’Hara had his Ireland caps stolen. PHOTO: DARREN KINSELLA

Former Paralympic footballer  issues heartfelt appeal to thieves

Alan O’Hara had his Ireland caps stolen. PHOTO: DARREN KINSELLA

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NORTHSIDE man who represented his country in soccer at the Paralympics has issued a heartfelt appeal to callous thieves who stole three of his Ireland caps.

Alan O’Hara, who lives at Longstone Park, Portrane, was the victim of a burglary at his home in the early hours of last Wednesday (April 20).

Two intruders, wearing hoodies, broke into Mr O’Hara’s one-bedroom ground floor apartment and took the caps he won at the Athens Paralympic Games in 2004, the World Games in Connecticut in 2006 and the Beijing Paralympic Games in 2008.

Mr O’Hara, who played at club level for Portrane Athletic and St Ita’s, donned the Ireland jersey more than 40 times in his career, from 2002 to 2008. Fortunately, his other Ireland caps were in his mother’s home.

Mr O’Hara, who was left shaken by the burglary, said it could have been worse, as he was woken by the intruders and confronted them. 

“I heard people in the sitting room and ran out towards them from my bedroom,” he told Northside People.   

“When I opened the bedroom door, they pushed me to the floor. They then ran out though the front door.

“I believe that if I hadn’t interrupted them, they would have taken more stuff from my home. I immediately contacted the gardai and they came to my apartment and took details.”

Mr O’Hara is appealing for the caps to be returned as they are of great sentimental value.

“I was very proud to represent my country in the Paralympics and these caps meant the world to me,” he said.

“These caps cannot be replaced and I would be thrilled if they were returned to me. I wouldn’t expect the people who took them to knock on my door and give them straight back but they could drop them in somewhere local anonymously.

“I used to work in the Donabate Portrane Community Centre and would be well-known there. That would be an ideal place for them to be dropped off if the thieves had a conscience.”

Mr O’Hara, who has been living at the apartment for the past four years, said he is particularly keen to get these caps back into his collection because they were won at such prestigious world events.

An Ireland cap similar to the ones that were stolen. Alan O’Hara in action against Great Britain in the Paralympics in Athens in 2004.

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