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Born Sétanta, he gained his better-known name as a child, after killing Culann's fierce guard-dog in self-defence and offered to take its place until a replacement could be reared.At the age of seventeen he defended Ulster single-handedly against the armies of queen Medb of Connacht in the famous Táin Bó Cúailnge ("Cattle Raid of Cooley").It was prophesied that his great deeds would give him everlasting fame, but his life would be a short one.He is known for his terrifying battle frenzy, or ríastrad), in which he becomes an unrecognisable monster who knows neither friend nor foe.When Sétanta arrives, the enormous hound attacks him, but he kills it in self-defence, in one version by smashing it against a standing stone, and in another by driving a sliotar (hurling ball) down its throat with his hurley.
As a small child, living in his parents' house on Muirthemne Plain, he begs to be allowed to join the boy-troop at Emain Macha.
Before going, Conchobar goes to the playing field to watch the boys play hurling.
He is so impressed by Sétanta's performance that he asks him to join him at the feast.
Sétanta has a game to finish, but promises to follow the king later.
But Conchobar forgets, and Culann lets loose his ferocious hound to protect his house.