The father looked at me and said: ‘Save the baby’

Davitt Walsh speaking on RTE.

Davitt Walsh speaking on RTE.

The hero who saved baby Rioghnach-Ann from the water on Sunday night has revealed how Sean McGrotty handed him his infant daughter and said: “Save the baby.”

Former Institute, Ballymena Utd and Finn Harps footballer, Davitt Walsh, speaking on RTE, said the family screamed for help from the water, and he didn’t stop to think before stripping to his boxers and swimming out to the car.

“I shouted to everyone to get out,” he said. “The window was half ajar and the father was hitting it to break it. The window broke and the father sat on the ledge and water started to seep in. He handed me the baby infant and said: “Save the baby.”

Mr Walsh said that, at this point, Sean McGrotty could have saved himself because he was out of the car but he made a decision to go back to his family.

“I took the baby, held it above my head and swam back to shore,” he said. “I just feel really terrible that I couldn’t do anymore for the family. I think that, deep down, the father knew that I was only going to be able to save one person and the last thing he said to me was, “save the baby.”

Mr Walsh revealed that, following the events of Sunday night, he needed stitches to cuts on his feet, was suffering from exhaustion and was badly shaken.