Denis O’Connor, 83, Foils Betting Shop Armed Robbery

Denis O’Connor, 83, Foils Betting Shop Armed Robbery, Makes Us All Look Like Failures

When I grow up, I want to be just like Denis O’Connor. Living my best life, chilling out at the local bookmaker, hoping – but not really caring – that some nag places in the umpteenth race of the day, and beating the shit out of armed robbers. Last Saturday evening, the 83-year old O’Connor did just that: destroyed the plans of three armed men who rushed into Bar One Racing in Glanmire, Co Cork, Ireland.

As Malvalio said in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, “some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em.”

Denis O’Connor, I suspect, fits all three.

The Door Flies Open, Time Freezes

Shortly before 6:30pm Saturday, O’Connor was at Bar One Racing, a local bookmaker’s shop*, doing his thing with a few other customers. Manager Tim Murphy was behind the desk. Suddenly, three men, donned in track suits and ski masks, dashed into the store. Two of them, each wielding a hammer, jumped the counter to demand money from Murphy. Correction: one jumped the counter, while the other tried and failed, resorting to going around the counter. The third man, armed with a shotgun, oversaw the customers and, based on the security video, looked like he was robbing them, as well.

Denis O’Connor and Tim Murphy
Photo credit: John Delea

For a few seconds, the shotgunner pointed his weapon at O’Connor and appeared to yell at him (the video has no sound), but soon turned his attention to the other customers. At that point, O’Connor sprung into action and casually walked around to the open end of the front desk (though he may have been walking slowly because he’s 83-years old). When he got there, one of the men attempting to rough up Murphy turned around and confronted him, only to met with quite the surprise: O’Connor wasn’t about to deal with the dude’s bullshit.

A Hero Reveals Himself

O’Connor made a move for the man’s hammer, at which point the two grappled for a few seconds. Sensing O’Connor’s old man strength was too much, the assailant fled, O’Connor in pursuit. Seeing what was happening, the man with the shotgun also made for the door. O’Connor chased both of them, grabbing a stool briefly to use as a weapon, though he quickly set it aside. On his way out the door, the shotgunner pointed the business end of his firearm right in O’Connor’s face, but lowered it just as quickly and continued to run out the door. O’Connor followed, taking a step outside before returning to help Murphy.

Murphy, in the meantime, looked like he may have been emboldened by O’Connor’s actions and got into a scuffle with the lone hammer-wielding robber. That robber soon decided to get the hell out of Dodge, so imagine his horror when he saw O’Connor, a man in pure “imma fuck you up” mode, standing in his path. The dude gave a juke and ran around O’Connor, though O’Connor stuck his leg out, tripping the robber up slightly. That gave O’Connor just enough of an opening to give him a boot right in the ass as the man fled. The shotgunner returned for a half a second to see if his buddy was coming, raised his gun for a moment, then exited.

Adopt Me, Please

Delivering that “kick up the backside” “really felt good,” O’Connor told The Irish Sun. I bet it did.

“You can either run or stand your ground in these situations and I’m glad I stood my ground,” he said.

If I was in O’Connor’s situation, I would like to think I’d act like a hero, but I probably would’ve cowered in a corner and pissed my pants.

It certainly took the robbers – who were likely a quarter to a third of O’Connor’s age – by surprise that the octogenarian was so strong and agile, but he attributes it to his daily routine.

“I am very fit. When I go to the gym I don’t waste time, I get on with my exercising and I finish off with a swim in the pool. I am fit out,” he said.

And I’m writing this while eating mini chocolate donuts.

Understandably, O’Connor’s wife wasn’t all that happy with him for putting his life in danger, but maybe she didn’t realize just how much of a stud he really was. Then again, they will be married for 60 years in 2019, so she probably does. In the end, though, she was proud of him, as am I.

Tim Murphy called O’Connor a “true hero,” adding, “I am very grateful for his help and I assure you Denis will be well looked after. He is one of my regulars and he is a great man.”

Perhaps vig-free betting for life?

*To my fellow Americans, there are actual betting stores all over Ireland and UK. Picture the cell phone store at your local strip mall, but the person behind the counter is a legal bookie and there are televisions on which you can watch the various stuff upon which you are betting.


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