Page last updated at 08:31 GMT, Tuesday, 20 October 2009 09:31 UK

Stag attack that almost cost two lives

The stag which attacked Tom Morgan.

Tom Morgan was dramatically rescued during a stag attack in south Armagh.

A man from County Armagh has spoken for the first time about the 15 minutes he spent fighting for his life against a stag.

Tom Morgan suffered more than 20 puncture wounds after a stag rounded on him on Camlough mountain.

He was out on a family stroll and came face to face with the animal. It appeared so docile that he thought he would take a photograph.

Within seconds, the stag had charged and gored him with its antlers.

Mr Morgan's wife and daughter watched on helplessly as he was attacked without mercy.

"As soon as it got straight in front of me, it just put its head down and went straight into my chest," he said.

"My natural reaction was just to grab whatever was coming to me which was the antlers."

That marked the start of Tom Morgan's terrifying fight for life.

"I was about 10 or 15 minutes with it. I had its head down in the ground. It was just pushing me down in the field. Its antlers were going through the ground like ploughs."

Tom Morgan
Tom Morgan was seriously injured

His wife and daughter could do little but watch on helplessly.

"I had given up at that stage. I thought, 'This is me gone, how is it going to finish me off?'" he said.

At that moment, Rory Coffey, a part-time cage fighter, who had caught sight of the attack from a distance intervened. He urged the badly injured man to crawl away.

But even as Tom Morgan looked on, he saw that Rory, too, was being ruthlessly gored.

"I pulled myself up over the gate and fell over onto the road. There was a ditch and a high barbred wire fence above that.

"I looked up and Rory was pinned against it. The stag was just ramming itself into him. He was in some pain. Only for Rory being there, I was gone. There was an awful guilt feeling that he had come in to save me and he was going to get killed because of me."

Eventually Rory had a split second minute to escape and took it.

Both men were exhausted and seriously injured.

But Tom Morgan said he knows he is lucky to be alive and can never put into words his gratitude to Rory Coffey.

The stag was later shot by a trained marksman.

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