Page last updated at 08:28 GMT, Tuesday, 13 October 2009 09:28 UK

Cage fighter battles stag in rescue

The stag turned on Tom Morgan shortly after this picture was taken

A part-time cage fighter has been praised for saving the life of a man attacked by a stag he was photographing in County Armagh.

The apparently docile animal turned on Tom Morgan on Camlough mountain, turning a family stroll into a nightmare.

It pinned Mr Morgan to the ground, but luckily local man Rory Coffey saw what was happening from his home.

He raced to the scene before his cage fighter training kicked in.

"I saw the guy was struggling, the stag's antlers were stuck in his leg," Mr Coffey said.

"I kicked the man to one side and told him to go away. I raised my knee into the stag's head and pinned it to the ground.

"So for a couple of seconds it was pinned to the ground - it wasn't moving and the man managed to get down the side of the hill."

Mr Coffey suffered several injuries in the rescue and said only his cage fighter training gave him any chance.

Rory Coffey

Rory Coffey saw the attack from his home and rushed to the rescue

"I've trained and fought with some very strong people but this opponent was extremely, extremely strong and the only vision I had of its head was the sinews and muscles," he said.

"I don't know how young or old the stag was, but it was a pretty big beast. If it had been any bigger I don't think I'd be having this interview."

Mr Morgan suffered more than 20 puncture wounds and is recovering in Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry.

His daughter is in no doubt he owes his life to Mr Coffey.

"If it wasn't for him my dad would be dead and maybe my mum," she said.

"It just shows you how brave a person is when you're forced into a life or death situation."

The stag was later shot by a trained marksman.

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