Community bids sad farewell to Christy O’Connor snr

Packed funeral Mass in native Clontarf recalls golfer of great faith, charity and passion

The funeral has taken place in Dublin of renowned golfer Christy O'Connor snr.

At a packed funeral Mass in St John The Baptist Church in his native Clontarf he was remembered as a man of faith, charity, family, humour and, above all, as an exceptionally skilled golfer with a swing and technique that left rivals floundering in his wake.

He was "our national golfing treasure and we were all very proud of him", said Fr Martin Hogan in his homily. O'Connor, who died last Saturday aged 91, never lost his passion for the game and played well into his latter years – with "his spirit and vigour as strong as ever", said Fr Hogan.

O'Connor was the standard bearer at home and abroad for Irish golf long before Harrington, McGinley and McIlroy bestrode the world golfing stage. He played in the Ryder Cup 10 times from 1955 to 1973 and for Ireland in 15 Canada Cup/World Cups. He won 24 European Tour tournaments including two British Masters.

Winner

His professional career was associated with his club of first and lasting love – the Royal Dublin on Bull Island – as well as with Woodbrook near Bray in Co Wicklow where he won numerous competitions.

Golfing writer, and former Irish Times golf correspondent Dermot Gilleece, described O'Connor as a golfer "of supreme skills attributed to flawless technique" in a lengthy eulogy taking in the highlights of his career.

His twin sons, Peter and Christopher, also remembered their father with love and admiration as a dad and head of family.

The funeral was attended by senior figures attached to golf clubs throughout the country, not least Royal Dublin. Today’s generation of Irish golfing greats was represented by Paul McGinley.

President Higgins was represented by his aide de camp Comdt Louise Conlon and Taoiseach Enda Kenny by his aide de camp Comdt Cormac Brady.

Chief mourners were O’Connor’s widow Mary and his surviving children, Marguerite, Therese, Joan, Christopher and Peter. He was predeceased by another daughter, Anne-Marie.

After the funeral, Mr O’Connor’s remains were interred in St Fintan’s Cemetery in Sutton.

Peter Murtagh

Peter Murtagh

Peter Murtagh is a contributor to The Irish Times

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