Tough guy Cathal Pendred has spoken of his sadness that the beached dolphin he tried to save in Co Clare has washed up onto shore again and died.
Pendred spent more than an hour on Sunday morning trying to carry the mammal into deeper water so that it could swim back out to the open sea. He eventually succeeded and the dolphin did manage to swim out away from the shore.
However, it had been badly injured during the ordeal and was sadly too weak to resist the tide. It became beached again, this time fatally.
Pendred, known as ‘The Punisher’ in his day job is a Mixed Martial Arts fighter, showed his softer side in his valiant rescue attempt. He said: “Myself and my girlfriend just woke up after the Saturday night in Doonbeg Lodge and decided to go for a walk on the beach.
“We saw a crowd of people at the water’s edge and when we got closer there was a man trying to refloat the dolphin, to push him out past the waves to deeper water.
“But he was running out of energy so I took off my tracksuit bottoms and said I’d give it a go.
“He was covered in cuts and was bleeding quite a bit – at one point he swam away but got swept over to some rocks where he got stuck.
“I went over and he just gave this little kind of crying whimper – at that minute I felt I had to help him get to deeper water so I just thought to put my arms around him, pick him up and carry him out as far as I could.”
The Dublin-born fighter battled against the tide for more than an hour in the freezing waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Pendred’s efforts were praised by Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group: “I’d have done the exact same. Because of the size of the dolphin it was worth giving it a chance and pushing it out to sea. But unfortunately for most animals like this, once they live strand at all their chances are quite slim.”
Pendred, who can be seen battling in the Ultimate Fighter contest in the USA, said: “It’s dreadful news. I just did what I could to try and help.” His girlfriend Michele McGrath added: “I’m so proud of him.”