Danny McGee, a Gaelic football player who moved to the United States in hopes of building a better life, died after he was punched once during a heated argument with an acquaintance outside a Queens bar, according to New York Daily News.
McGee, 21, was drinking with friends at the Gaslight bar when he got into an argument with Steven O’Brien. They were not great friends but knew each other through common pals, and before either of them knew it, their argument spilled outside on the streets. O’Brien threw the first punch and that was all.
McGee fell back and smashed his head on the concrete. He stopped responding even as medics rushed him to Elmhurst Hospital with head trauma. Doctors pronounced him dead shortly after. A “nervous wreck”, O’Brien fled the scene of the crime. Early the next morning, though, he surrendered to the police.
Police officials investigating the case have concluded that McGee’s death was not murder, and as a result, O’Brien has been charged with assault. His friends pitched in to post O’Brien’s $25,000 bail. When reporters tried talking to him outside the court, O’Brien didn’t say a word. A mutual friend said O’Brien had been deeply affected by the result of his one punch and would probably suffer all his life with guilt now.
“He’s a f—ing puppy dog. Dealing with the aftermath is going to be hard for him.”
McGee’s untimely and bizarre manner of death has sent ripples in his home community across the Atlantic, and his former team Father Manning Gaels took to Twitter to post their tribute.
Another club that McGee played for during his teens, the Irish Gaels United club, also canceled all scheduled matches over the weekend and joined in paying tribute to the football player.
“Danny played with our club for many years and we are shocked to hear of his passing. He was a true gentleman, always very friendly with a great smile and sense of humor,” the club said in a statement.
Everyone in the club is shocked and saddened at the tragic passing of Danny McGee in New York. Loved by all who knew him he was a star for St. Vincent’s at each age group and played senior with us shortly before emigrating. Our deepest sympathies to his family and friends. RIP pic.twitter.com/45YhfuybVc
— Father Manning Gaels (@FrManningGaels) November 23, 2018
McGee’s neighbor Anna Dciewa, who was shocked to learn about his death, said he was a hardworking person who had moved to New York to make a better life for himself. He worked two jobs — one during the day and the other during the night. He would often go drinking with friends and colleagues. She remembered the last time when she saw McGee on Thursday night, hours before the assault took place.
“I saw him around 8 o’clock (at night),” she said. “I spoke to him. Just to tell him it’s very cold. We just talked about the weather, the mess outside. He was very clean, nice-dressed, with a jacket and wearing cologne.”